• Are in six classes within the subphylum Vertebrata. (Hagfish, Lampreys, Chimaeras, Sharks & Rays, Lobe-finned Fishes, and Ray-finned Fishes)
  • Are cold-blooded. They cannot maintain their body temperature by internal means.
  • Have a slimy skin with or without scales. Fish use slime to waterproof their bodies.   It also serves to protect the animal from attack by fungi and bacteria.
  • Breathe underwater through gills. Some fish have primitive lungs and can breathe air when necessary, but their primary means of respiration is gills.
  • Lay gelatinous eggs in the waterExceptions:  The egg cases (mermaid's purses) of sharks and rays are quite durable.  Some species of fish have live birth.
  • Have fins. Fins are generally not the main means of locomotion, but rather serve to steer and orient the fish.



Channel catfish are found in nearly every stream, river, pond, lake, and reservoir in the state. They remain one of the most popular angling species.

Fish in Kansas

Currently, there are about 25,000 recognized species of fishes in the world, divided into 35 living orders. Within Kansas 144 species are recorded from 24 families in 16 orders.

Range maps and population status for the sixteen fish species on the Kansas Threatened & Endangered Species list may be found in the Kansas Wildlife Refuge.

The following list is taken from "A Checklist of the Vertebrate Animals of Kansas", 3rd edition, 2005, by George Potts and Joseph Collins. This publication is available from the Kansas University Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045-7163.

  • The scientific name follows each common name.
  • Extirpated from the wild in Kansas
  • *Asterisk = Non-native

Order of Lampreys (Petromyzontiformes)

Order of Sturgeons and Paddlefish (Acipenseriformes)

Family Acipenseridae
Lake Sturgeon - Acipenser fulvescens
Pallid Sturgeon - Scaphirhynchus albus
Shovelnose Sturgeon - Scaphirhynchus platorynchus
Family Polyodontidae
Paddlefish - Polyodon spathula

Order of Gars (Lepisosteiformes)

Family Lepisosteidae
Spotted Gar - Lepisosteus oculatus
Longnose Gar - Lepisosteus osseus
Shortnose Gar - Lepisosteus platostomus

Order of Bowfins (Amiiformes)

Family Amiidae
Bowfin - Amia calva

Order of Bony-tongued fishes (Hiodontiformes)

Family Hiodontidae
Goldeye - Hiodon alosoides
Mooneye - Hiodon tergisus

Order of Eels (Anguilliformes)

Family Anguillidae
American Eel - Anguilla rostrata

Order of Herrings (Clupeiformes)

Family Clupeidae
Skipjack Herring - Alosa chrysochloris
Gizzard Shad - Dorosoma cepedianum
Threadfin Shad - Dorosoma petenense*

Order of Carp-like fishes (Cypriniformes)

Family Cyprinidae
Central Stoneroller - Campostoma anomalum
Goldfish - Carassius auratus*
Grass Carp - Ctenopharyngodon idella*
Bluntface Shiner - Cyprinella camura
Red Shiner - Cyprinella lutrensis
Spotfin Shiner - Cyprinella spiloptera
Common Carp - Cyprinus carpio*
Gravel Chub - Erimystax x-punctatus
Western Silvery Minnow - Hybognathus argyritis
Brassy Minnow - Hybognathus hankinsoni
Plains Minnow - Hybognathus placitus
Bighead Carp - Hypophthalmichthys nobilis*
Cardinal Shiner - Luxilis cardinalis
Striped Shiner - Luxilis chrysocephalus
Common Shiner - Luxilus cornutus
Redfin Shiner - Lythrurus umbratilis
Sturgeon Chub - Macrhybopsis gelida
Shoal Chub - Macrhybopsis hyostoma
Sicklefin Chub - Macrhybopsis meeki
Silver Chub - Macrhybopsis storeriana
Peppered Chub - Macrhybopsis tetranema
Redspot Chub - Nocomis asper
Hornyhead Chub - Nocomis biguttatus
Golden Shiner - Notemigonus crysoleucas
Emerald Shiner - Notropis atherinoides
Red River Shiner - Notropis bairdi*
River Shiner - Notropis blennius
Bigeye Shiner - Notropis boops
Ghost Shiner - Notropis buchanani
Bigmouth Shiner - Hybopsis dorsalis
Arkansas River Shiner - Notropis girardi
Blacknose Shiner - Notropis heterolepis
Ozark Minnow - Notropis nubilus
Carmine Shiner - Notropis percobromus
Silverband Shiner - Notropis shumardi
Sand Shiner - Notropis stramineus
Topeka Shiner - Notropis topeka
Mimic Shiner - Notropis volucellus
Pugnose Minnow - Opsopoeodus emiliae
Suckermouth Minnow - Phenacobius mirabilis
Southern Redbelly Dace - Phoxinus erythrogaster
Bluntnose Minnow - Pimephales notatus
Fathead Minnow - Pimephales promelas
Slim Minnow - Pimephales tenellus
Bullhead Minnow - Pimephales vigilax
Flathead Chub - Platygobio gracilis
Western Blacknose Dace - Rhinichthys obtusus
Rudd - Scardinius erythrophthalmus*
Creek Chub - Semotilus atromaculatus
Family Catostomidae
River Carpsucker - Carpiodes carpio
Quillback - Carpiodes cyprinus
Highfin Carpsucker - Carpiodes velifer
White Sucker - Catostomus commersonii
Blue Sucker - Cycleptus elongatus
Northern Hogsucker - Hypentelium nigricans
Smallmouth Buffalo - Ictiobus bubalus
Bigmouth Buffalo - Ictiobus cyprinellus
Black Buffalo - Ictiobus niger
Spotted Sucker - Minytrema melanops
River Redhorse - Moxostoma carinatum
Black Redhorse - Moxostoma duquesnii
Golden Redhorse - Moxostoma erythrurum
Shorthead Redhorse - Moxostoma macrolepidotum

Order of Catfish (Siluriformes)

    Family Ictaluridae
        White Catfish - Ameiurus catus*
        Black Bullhead - Ameiurus melas
        Yellow Bullhead - Ameiurus natalis
        Brown Bullhead - Ameiurus nebulosus*
        Blue Catfish - Ictalurus furcatus
        Channel Catfish - Ictalurus punctatus
        Slender Madtom - Noturus exilis
        Stonecat - Noturus flavus
        Tadpole Madtom - Noturus gyrinus
        Brindled Madtom - Noturus miurus
        Freckled Madtom - Noturus nocturnus
        Neosho Madtom - Noturus placidus
        Flathead Catfish - Pylodictus olivaris

Order of Pikes and Mudminnows (Esociformes)

Family Esocidae
Northern Pike - Esox lucius*

Order of Trouts, Salmons and Smelts (Salmoniformes)

Family Osmeridae
Rainbow Smelt - Osmerus mordax*
Family Salmonidae
Rainbow Trout - Oncorhynchus mykiss*
Brown Trout - Salmo trutta*

Order of Cods (Gadiformes)

Family Gadidae
Burbot - Lota lota

Order of Silversides (Atheriniformes)

Family Atherinopsidae
Brook Silverside - Labidesthes sicculus
Inland Silverside - Minidia beryllina*

Order of Topminnows (Cyprinodontiformes)

Family Fundulidae
Northern Studfish - Fundulus catenatus
Northern Plains Killifish - Fundulus kansae
Blackstripe Topminnow - Fundulus notatus
Blackspotted Topminnow - Fundulus olivaceus
Plains Topminnow - Fundulus sciadicus*

Family Poeciliidae
Western Mosquitofish - Gambusia affinis*

Order of Mail-cheeked fishes (Scorpaeniformes)

Family Cottidae
Banded Sculpin - Cottus carolinae

Order of Spiny-finned fishes (Perciformes)

Family Moronidae
White Perch - Morone americana*
White Bass - Morone chrysops
Yellow Bass - Morone mississippiensis*
Striped Bass - Morone saxatilis*
Family Centrarchidae
Rock Bass - Ambloplites rupestris*
Green Sunfish - Lepomis cyanellus
Warmouth - Lepomis gulosus
Orangespotted Sunfish - Lepomis humilis
Bluegill - Lepomis macrochirus
Longear Sunfish - Lepomis megalotis
Redear Sunfish - Lepomis microlophus*
Smallmouth Bass - Micropterus dolomieu
Spotted Bass - Micropterus punctulatus
Largemouth Bass - Micropterus salmoides
White Crappie - Pomoxis annularis
Black Crappie - Pomoxis nigromaculatus*
Family Percidae
Greenside Darter - Etheostoma blennioides
Bluntnose Darter - Etheostoma chlorosoma
Arkansas Darter - Etheostoma cragini
Iowa Darter - Etheostoma exile
Fantail Darter - Etheostoma flabellare
Slough Darter - Etheostoma gracile
Least Darter - Etheostoma microperca
Johnny Darter - Etheostoma nigrum
Stippled Darter - Etheostoma punctulatum
Orangethroat Darter - Etheostoma spectabile
Speckled Darter - Etheostoma stigmaeum
Redfin Darter - Etheostoma whipplii
Banded Darter - Etheostoma zonale
Yellow Perch - Perca flavescens*
Logperch - Percina caprodes
Channel Darter - Percina copelandi
Blackside Darter - Percina maculata
Slenderhead Darter - Percina phoxocephala
River Darter - Percina shumardi
Sauger - Stizostedion canadense
Walleye - Sander vitreus*
Family Sciaenidae
Freshwater Drum - Aplodinotus grunniens
Family Cichlidae
Tilapia - Sarotherodon sp.*

More information on fishes:

Visit the North American Native Fishes Association for articles on many kinds of native fish!