Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 60 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
Stonecat side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Noturus flavus
Description
The stonecat is the most common madtom in the large streams in the northern Ozarks and Prairie region. Its body and fins are nearly plain, its upper jaw projects beyond the lower jaw, and its lower lip and chin lack dark pigment.
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
Orangethroat darter female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma spectabile
Description
Orangethroat darters are one of the most common darters in the Ozarks. The males are colorful during breeding season, with red blotches on the sides and bright orange under the gills.
Media
Johnny darter, female, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma nigrum
Description
The Johnny darter occurs primarily in pools and slow-moving riffles in sandy streams. It's common in prairie streams of northeastern and central Missouri.
Media
Redfin darter side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Etheostoma whipplei
Description
The redfin darter is one of Missouri's rarest darters and is endangered in our state. It is part of a highly distinctive fish community living in the lower Spring River and its North Fork, in Jasper and Barton counties.
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
Common shiner side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Luxilus cornutus
Description
The common shiner is mostly found in central and west-central Missouri in short, direct tributaries of the Missouri River. It is very similar to the striped shiner but lacks dusty sprinkles of pigment on its chin and (except for breeding males) lacks dark lines on the upper part of the body.
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.