Field Guide

Fishes

Showing 1 - 10 of 10 results
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 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
 Central mudminnow side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Umbra limi
Description
The central mudminnow is is the only mudminnow that occurs in our state, and it is rare, occurring only in a few marshy locations near the Mississippi River. Mudminnows are closely related to the pikes.
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
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
Goldfish side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carassius auratus
Description
Goldfish are not native to North America. They often escape into the wild from bait buckets and other causes, but there are few self-sustaining populations in Missouri.
Media
Knobfin sculpin side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cottus immaculatus
Description
The knobfin sculpin occurs only in the Current, Eleven Point, and White river drainages in the Ozarks of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Until 2010, it was considered the same as the Ozark sculpin.
Media
Southern redbelly dace male in spawning colors, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Notropis, Cyprinella, Hybognathus, Luxilus, and others
Description
Minnows — including shiners, chubs, stonerollers, dace, and carp — are members of the minnow family, the Cyprinidae. It is the largest of all fish families, and Missouri has about 70 species.
Media
Mottled sculpin side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cottus bairdii
Description
In Missouri, the mottled sculpin occurs in the Niangua River system, some tributaries of the Lake of the Ozarks, the Meramec, Gasconade, and Osage river systems, and some other eastern Ozark streams. It is most similar to the Ozark and knobfin sculpins.
Media
Northern rock bass, or goggle-eye, side view photo with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ambloplites rupestris
Description
The northern rock bass, or goggle-eye, is thicker than most other sunfish, with a large mouth and very large eyes. It occurs in northern Ozark streams, tributaries of the middle Mississippi, and a portion of the southwestern Ozarks; sometimes in Ozark reservoirs.
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.