Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 30 results
Media
Smallmouth buffalo side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ictiobus bulbalus
Description
The smallmouth buffalo is nearly as common and widespread in Missouri as the bigmouth buffalo. Identify it by its small, nearly horizontal mouth and the strongly keeled forward part of its back.
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
Quillback side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carpiodes cyprinus
Description
Like our other carpsuckers, the quillback has a deep, rather thick body and a long, sickle-shaped dorsal fin. This silvery, hump-backed fish is widely distributed in Missouri.
Media
Shorthead redhorse side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Moxostoma macrolepidotum
Description
The shorthead redhorse is the most widely distributed redhorse sucker in Missouri, occurring nearly statewide. No other Missouri redhorse is as adaptable in its habitat requirements. Many specimens have a pea-shaped swelling on the upper lip.
Media
Freckled madtom side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Noturus nocturnus
Description
The freckled madtom looks similar to the tadpole madtom and shares much of its range, but its upper jaw projects beyond the lower jaw, and the underside of the head and body are sprinkled with dark speckles.
Media
Tadpole madtom female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Noturus gyrinus
Description
The tadpole madtom occurs in the Bootheel lowlands and in a broad zone from southwest Missouri to northeast Missouri. This small, chubby catfish is most common in the Bootheel lowlands and in northeastern Missouri.
Media
Orangethroat darter male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma, Percina, Ammocrypta, and Crystallaria spp.
Description
Darters have been described as the hummingbirds of the fish world: colorful, small, and quick. Missouri has about 44 different types of darters. They are most diverse in the fast, clear, rocky streams of the Ozarks.
Media
Shortnose gar side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lepisosteus platostomus
Description
The shortnose gar is named for its relatively short, broad snout. Like other gars, it's a long, cylindrical fish with a long snout and numerous prominent teeth. The body is covered with hard, diamond-shaped scales.
Media
Golden shiner male, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Notemigonus crysoleucas
Description
The golden shiner is a deep-bodied minnow with a greenish-olive back and a faint dusky stripe along the midline. It has a fleshy keel along the midline of the belly. It is widespread in Missouri.
Media
Brook silverside side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Labidesthes sicculus
Description
The brook silverside is a little fish that is very active in the daytime and on bright, moonlit nights.
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 forelimbs and hind limbs, each with three tiny 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 in counties 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.