Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 28 results
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.
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
Threadfin shad side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dorosoma petenense
Description
The threadfin shad occurs in the Mississippi River and its tributaries. It also occurs in mainstem reservoirs of the White River Basin and in Montrose Lake and the South Grand River in Henry County.
Media
Mooneye side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hiodon tergisus
Description
Mooneyes are silvery, flat-sided fishes with large eyes and prominent teeth on the jaws, roof of the mouth, and tongue. A fleshy keel runs along the midline of the belly. The eye is silvery and larger than the goldeye’s.
Media
Freshwater drum side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aplodinotus grunniens
Description
The freshwater drum is a silvery, deep-bodied fish with a distinct humpbacked appearance. It occurs in large rivers, lakes, and impoundments over most of Missouri.
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.
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.