Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 54 results
Media
Alabama shad side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Alosa alabamae
Description
The Alabama shad is uncommon in Missouri. It spends most of its adult life in the sea and enters freshwater streams to spawn. Missouri may have the last spawning populations that occur in the Mississippi River system.
Media
Banded sculpin side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cottus carolinae
Description
The banded sculpin is widely distributed, occurring in all the major Ozark stream systems and north of the Missouri River in Lincoln County. Note the complete lateral line; wide, distinct dark bar at the base of the tail; and dorsal fins that are not connected.
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
Bluegill male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lepomis macrochirus
Description
The bluegill is one of the most abundant and popular panfishes in North America. This deep-bodied, slab-sided sunfish sports a black “ear flap” extending from the edge of its gill cover.
Media
Brown trout female side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Salmo trutta
Description
Native to Europe, hatchery-raised brown trout are stocked into cold streams and lakes in Missouri. A favorite of anglers, this species can reach 37 inches and 26 pounds.
Media
Central stoneroller male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Campostoma anomalum (syn. C. pullum)
Description
The central stoneroller is a brownish minnow with small eyes. The lower jaw has a flat, shelflike extension used to scrape algae from rocks. Found statewide, it is most active during the daytime.
Media
Chain pickerel side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Esox niger
Description
The chain pickerel has an elongated body, a snout shaped like a duck’s bill, and a large mouth with many sharp teeth. The back and sides are olive or yellowish brown with a chainlike pattern of dark lines.
Media
Checkered madtom side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Noturus flavater
Description
The checkered madtom is a small catfish prominently marked with four dark saddle marks and a bold dark bar at the base of the tail fin. It occurs in the southern Ozarks.
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.