Minnesota Fishes

Bony Fishes (Class Osteichthyes)

Osteichthyes is the class of bony fishes. It is characterized by having skeletons composed of bone, not cartilage; gills; a two-chambered heart; and no pelvic girdle. Most have paired lateral and median fins; a terminal mouth; and smooth, overlapping ganoid, cycloid or ctenoid scales.

The class is divided into two subclasses: ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) and lobe-finned fishes (Sarcopterygii). The vast majority of extant (living) fishes are ray-finned fishes. There are no lobe-finned fishes in North America.

Ray-finned Fishes (Subclass Actinopterygii)

Actinopterygii are characterized by having a fin composed of a web of skin supported by bony or horny spines. The subclass includes almost 99% of all species of fish.

There are about 30,000 Actinopterygii species worldwide. In 2011, there were 162 species in Minnesota.

Lampreys (Class Hyperoartia)

The taxonomy of lampreys is in dispute. Some taxonomists place lampreys in the class Cephalaspidomorphi. Most consider this taxon extinct. Most now place lampreys in the class Hyperoartia.

Though they look like eels, lampreys are jawless fish. They are characterized by having a toothed, funnel-like, sucking mouth.

Traditional Classification

The division of fishes into five classes, with ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) a single subclass of bony fishes (Osteichthyes) is the traditional classification, Linnaean taxonomy. Under Linnaean taxonomy, taxa are grouped into sets or classes by characteristics shared among their members. It is the scheme followed by most non-specialist sources. Under this scheme the grouping of all fish also contains tetrapods (Superclass Tetrapoda), which are not fish. In taxonomic terms, the group is paraphyletic. Most taxonomists avoid paraphyletic groups whenever possible.

A newer classification scheme, the International Code of Phylogenetic Nomenclature, Phylocode for short, emphasizes ancestry at the expense of descriptive characteristics. Phylocode seeks to regulate the naming of clades, with the naming of species remaining the responsibility of the rank-based Nomenclature codes (ICN, ICZN, ICNB, ICTV). The most recent Phylocode draft was released in 2019. Few reputable sources for taxonomic classification follow Phylocode. Two that do are Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) and National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). As of February, 2020, it remains uncertain whether Phylocode will ever be widely adopted.


brook trout






Plural of Fish

We were all taught in elementary school that the plural of moose is moose and the plural of fish is fish. That remains true – mostly.

When the word fish refers to individual organisms, like those found on ice in a grocery store, the plural of those organisms is fish. When the word refers to a taxonomic grouping, such as the species bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), the plural of those groupings is fishes.

Recent Additions
Brook trout

Brook trout is a medium-sized freshwater fish. It is native to eastern United States and southern Canada from Newfoundland west to eastern Minnesota, south to northern New Jersey and eastern Iowa, and also south along the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia. It is a popular sport fish and has been stocked around the world since the 1800s. It is now widely distributed and locally established across Europe, Canada, and the United States. In Minnesota it is most common in the northeast. It is found in small, spring-fed streams that are cool, no more than 66°F; well oxygenated; and clear, mostly free of siltation.

Brook trout is a medium-sized freshwater fish. It lives an average of 6 to 8 years in the wild in its native range, but has been known to survive up to 24 years in other areas. The average length at maturity is 15 to 20, though in Minnesota the average length is reported as just 8 to 10. The body is long, streamlined, and slightly compressed laterally. The mouth is large. During breeding season the male develops a hook on the lower jaw. The back is olive-green to dark brown or almost black with numerous worm-like pale spots. The sides are lighter with numerous round pale spots and smaller red spots. Each red spot has a thin bluish halo. The belly is silvery white. During spawning season the sides and fins of the male often become bright orangish-red.

  brook trout
Other Recent Additions













This list includes only fishes that have been recorded in Minnesota, but not all of the fishes found in Minnesota.

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brook trout


alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus)


Allegheny pearl dace (Margariscus margarita)


American brook lamprey (Lampetra appendix)


American eel (Anguilla rostrata)


American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula)


Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)


banded darter (Etheostoma zonale)


banded killifish (Fundulus diaphanus)


bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis)


bigmouth buffalo (Ictiobus cyprinellus)


bigmouth shiner (Notropis dorsalis)


black buffalo (Ictiobus niger)


black bullhead (Ameiurus melas)


black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus)


black redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei)


blackchin shiner (Notropis heterodon)


blacknose shiner (Notropis heterolepis)


blackside darter (Percina maculata)


bloater (Coregonus hoyi)


blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)


blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatus)


bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)


bluntnose darter (Etheostoma chlorosoma)


bluntnose minnow (Pimephales notatus)


bowfin (Amia calva)


brassy minnow (Hybognathus hankinsoni)


brook silverside (Labidesthes sicculus)


brook stickleback (Culaea inconstans)

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brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)


brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus)


brown trout (Salmo trutta)


bullhead minnow (Pimephales vigilax)


burbot (Lota lota)


central mudminnow (Umbra limi)


central stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum)


channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)


chestnut lamprey (Ichthyomyzon castaneus)


Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)


cisco (Coregonus artedi)


coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)


common carp (Cyprinus carpio)


common shiner (Luxilus cornutus)


creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus)


crystal darter (Crystallaria asprella)


deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsoni)


eastern blacknose dace (Rhinichthys atratulus)


emerald shiner (Notropis atherinoides)


fantail darter (Etheostoma flabellare)


fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)


finescale dace (Phoxinus neogaeus)


flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris)


flathead chub (Platygobio gracilis)


fourspine stickleback (Apeltes quadracus)


freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens)


gilt darter (Percina evides)


gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum)


golden redhorse (Moxostoma erythrurum)


golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas)


goldeye (Hiodon alosoides)


goldfish (Carassius auratus)


grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella)


gravel chub (Erimystax x-punctatus)


greater redhorse (Moxostoma valenciennesi)


green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)


highfin carpsucker (Carpiodes velifer)


hornyhead chub (Nocomis biguttatus)


Iowa darter (Etheostoma exile)


Johnny darter (Etheostoma nigrum)


kiyi (Coregonus kiyi)


lake chub (Couesius plumbeus)


lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)


lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush)


lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis)


largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides)


largescale stoneroller (Campostoma oligolepis)


least darter (Etheostoma microperca)


logperch (Percina caprodes)


longear sunfish (Lepomis megalotis)


longnose dace (Rhinichthys cataractae)


longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseus)


longnose sucker (Catostomus catostomus)


mimic shiner (Notropis volucellus)


Mississippi silvery minnow (Hybognathus nuchalis)


mooneye (Hiodon tergisus)


mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi)


mud darter (Etheostoma asprigene)


muskellunge (Esox masquinongy)


ninespine stickleback (Pungitius pungitius)


Nipigon cisco (Coregonus nipigon)


northern brook lamprey (Ichthyomyzon fossor)


northern hogsucker (Hypentelium nigricans)


northern pearl dace (Margariscus nachtriebi)


northern pike (Esox lucius)


northern redbelly dace (Chrosomus eos)


northern sunfish (Lepomis peltastes)


orangespotted sunfish (Lepomis humilis)


Ozark minnow (Notropis nubilus)


pallid shiner (Hybopsis amnis)


pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha)


pirate perch (Aphredoderus sayanus)


plains topminnow (Fundulus sciadicus)


pugnose minnow (Opsopoeodus emiliae)


pugnose shiner (Notropis anogenus)


pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus)


pygmy whitefish (Prosopium coulterii)


quillback (Carpiodes cyprinus)


rainbow darter (Etheostoma caeruleum)


rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax)


rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)


red shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis)


redfin shiner (Lythrurus umbratilis)


redside dace (Clinostomus elongatus)


river carpsucker (Carpiodes carpio)


river darter (Percina shumardi)


river redhorse (Moxostoma carinatum)


river shiner (Notropis blennius)


rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris)


rosyface shiner (Notropis rubellus)


round goby (Neogobius melanostomus)


round whitefish (Prosopium cylindraceum)


ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus)


sand shiner (Notropis stramineus)


sauger (Sander canadense)


sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus)


shorthead redhorse (Moxostoma macrolepidotum)


shortjaw cisco (Coregonus zenithicus)


shortnose gar (Lepisosteus platostomus)


shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus)


silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix)


silver chub (Macrhybopsis storeriana)


silver lamprey (Ichthyomyzon unicuspis)


silver redhorse (Moxostoma anisurum)


skipjack herring (Alosa chrysochloris)


slender madtom (Noturus exilis)


slenderhead darter (Percina phoxocephala)


slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus)


smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu)


smallmouth buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus)


southern brook lamprey (Ichthyomyzon gagei)


southern redbelly dace (Phoxinus erythrogaster)


speckled chub (Macrhybopsis aestivalis)


spoonhead sculpin (Cottus ricei)


spotfin shiner (Cyprinella spiloptera)


spottail shiner (Notropis hudsonius)


spotted sucker (Minytrema melanops)


starhead topminnow (Fundulus dispar)


stonecat (Noturus flavus)


suckermouth minnow (Phenacobius mirabilis)


tadpole madtom (Noturus gyrinus)


threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)


Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka)


trout-perch (Percopsis omiscomaycus)


walleye (Sander vitreus)


warmouth (Lepomis gulosus)


weed shiner (Notropis texanus)


western blacknose dace (Rhinichthys obtusus)


western sand darter (Ammocrypta clara)


western tubenose goby (Proterorhinus semilunaris)


white bass (Morone chrysops)


white crappie (Pomoxis annularis)


white perch (Morone americana)


white sucker (Catostomus commersonii)


yellow bass (Morone mississippiensis)


yellow bullhead (Ameiurus natalis)


yellow perch (Perca flavescens)






No Species Page Yet?

If you do not see a linked page for an insect in the list at left, or the insect does not appear in the list, you can still upload a photo or video as an email attachment or report a sighting for that insect. Click on one of the buttons below and type in the common name and/or scientific name of the insect in your photo, video, or sighting. A new page will be created for that insect featuring your contribution.

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Created: 2/2/2020

Last Updated:

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