Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 24 results
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
Blackspotted topminnow side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fundulus olivaceus
Description
The blackspotted topminnow is a sleek, swift little fish that lives in quiet, clear sections of rivers mostly south of the Missouri River. Topminnows have a habit of skimming along just beneath the surface of the water.
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
Fathead minnow side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pimephales promelas
Description
The fathead minnow has a blunt, rounded snout, rounded fins, a dusky stripe along the side, and a spot at the base of the tail fin. It is most abundant in pools of small prairie creeks because it tolerates rather high temperatures, extreme turbidity, and low oxygen.
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.
Media
Western mosquitofish female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Gambusia affinis
Description
Mosquitofish resemble plain-looking guppies and, like guppies, bear live young instead of eggs. They prefer shallow, marginal areas and sluggish streams with warm water and abundant vegetative cover. They swim near the surface.
Media
Gizzard shad side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dorosoma cepedianum
Description
The gizzard shad is one of the most common and abundant fish in Missouri. In Missouri, this schooling fish occurs in every major stream system and is most abundant in reservoirs and large rivers.
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 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.