Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 27 results
Media
Alligator gar side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Atractosteus spatula (formerly Lepisosteus spatula)
Description
The alligator gar is Missouri's largest gar and has a distinctively short, broad snout. Populations are declining. This fish once occurred in the Mississippi River at least as far upstream as the mouth of the Illinois River and in major tributaries.
Media
Bighead carp side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hypophthalmichthys nobilis
Description
The bighead carp is an invasive Asian carp. It does not jump as frequently as its cousin the silver carp, but it also leaps from the water when disturbed, threatening boaters' safety.
Media
Bigmouth buffalo side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ictiobus cyprinellus
Description
Missouri's largest sucker, the bigmouth buffalo occurs over much of the state and is most abundant in the Missouri River and its larger tributaries to the north.
Media
Black buffalo side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ictiobus niger
Description
Compared to Missouri’s other buffalofishes, the black buffalo is less abundant and widespread, and of the three, it occurs most often in places with strong currents.
Media
Black bullhead side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ameiurus melas
Description
The black bullhead is widespread in Missouri. It is the most common bullhead catfish in north and west portions of the state. It has dusky or black chin barbels, and the edge of its tail fin is notched, not straight.
Media
Black carp side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Mylopharyngodon piceus
Description
The black carp is a large, invasive carp from Asia. It eats mussels and snails and can damage populations of native mollusks. It is illegal to transport live black carp across state lines.
Media
Brown bullhead side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ameiurus nebulosus
Description
In Missouri, the brown bullhead occurs in quiet, clear waters in wildlife refuges in southeast Missouri. Elsewhere in the state, it is stocked and possibly escapes. It has mottled sides and an elongated barbel at the corner of the mouth.
Media
 Central mudminnow side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Umbra limi
Description
The central mudminnow is is the only mudminnow that occurs in our state, and it is rare, occurring only in a few marshy locations near the Mississippi River. Mudminnows are closely related to the pikes.
Media
Channel catfish side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ictalurus punctatus
Description
The channel catfish is the official Missouri state fish. It is pale with dark spots and is found statewide in a variety of habitats, preferring large, rather turbid streams with low or moderate gradients.
Media
Chestnut lamprey side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ichthyomyzon castaneus
Description
The chestnut lamprey is an eel-like fish that many people find interesting because it's a vampire to other fish. Adults have a well-developed, rasplike oral disc, seven porelike gill openings, no paired fins, and a single nostril.
See Also
Media
Photo of a three-toed amphiuma in an aquarium.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Amphiuma tridactylum
Description
The three-toed amphiuma is an eel-like, completely aquatic salamander. It has very small fore- and hind limbs, each with three very small toes. In Missouri it’s found only in the Bootheel region.
Media
Photo of researcher holding a gilled siren
Species Types
Scientific Name
Siren intermedia nettingi
Description
The western lesser siren is an eel-like, aquatic salamander with external gills, small eyes, small forelimbs with four toes, and no hind limbs. In Missouri, it’s found mostly in the Bootheel and northward near the Mississippi River.

About Fishes in Missouri

Missouri has more than 200 kinds of fish, more than are found in most neighboring states. Fishes live in water, breathe with gills, and have fins instead of legs. Most are covered with scales. Most fish in Missouri “look” like fish and could never be confused with anything else. True, lampreys and eels have snakelike bodies — but they also have fins and smooth, slimy skin, which snakes do not.