Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 38 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
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
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 crappie, male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pomoxis nigromaculatus
Description
The black crappie is a popular panfish. It is deep bodied and slab sided. The sides are silver with an irregular pattern of dark speckles. The upper jaw is long, reaching past the middle of the eye.
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
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
Flathead catfish side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pylodictis olivaris
Description
The flathead catfish has a broad, flattened head with small eyes on top. The lower jaw projects beyond the upper jaw. It occurs in most of the large streams of Missouri, preferring places with a slow current.
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.
Media
Golden redhorse side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Moxostoma erythrurum
Description
The golden redhorse is a smaller-bodied sucker with large scales and a short dorsal fin. It occurs in Ozark and northeast Missouri streams.
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.