Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 88 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
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
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 River madtom side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Noturus mayden
Description
The Black River madtom occurs only in the Black and St. Francis rivers of the Ozarks of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. The back and fins are distinctly mottled with dark blotches and bars.
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
Blackstripe topminnow, male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fundulus notatus
Description
The blackstripe topminnow has a slender, elongated shape and is a sleek, swift fish. Topminnows have a habit of skimming along just beneath the surface of the water.
Media
Bleeding shiner male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Luxilus zonatus
Description
The bleeding shiner is restricted to the Ozarks. Males sport brilliant red during breeding season. Check your ID by noting the dark, crescent bar behind the gill cover and the dark stripe that abruptly narrows just behind the gill opening.
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.
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.