Bigmouth Buffalo

Ictiobus cyprinellus


Image of a bigmouth buffalo
Joseph R. Tomelleri. Used with permission.

Catostomidae (suckers) in the order Cypriniformes (carps, minnows and loaches)


Large bodied with large scales. Dark lower fins. Long, sickle-shaped dorsal fin. Oblique mouth.


Total length: 15-27 inches (maximum 48 inches).

Habitat and conservation

Deeper pools of rivers, streams and impoundments.


Omnivorous, feeding on invertebrates and detritus from the bottom.

image of Bigmouth Buffalo Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri

In streams, rivers and impoundments throughout most of Missouri except for the extreme southwest and south central regions.


Commercial, sport.

Life cycle

Can live up to 10 years.

Human connections

Many people enjoy bigmouth buffalo meat smoked or deep fried. Seldom taken on a hook and line; most are caught with trammel nets and other commercial fishing gear. Well-suited for artificial propagation.

Ecosystem connections

Aquatic invertebrate control.