Class Myxini, Family Myxinidae, Hagfish Eplatretus sp. Class Cephalospidomorphi

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Aquatic Biology - - Nov 2009

Fish Identification Key for MSUM Collection
Superclass Agnatha
Class Myxini, Family Myxinidae, Hagfish Eplatretus sp.
Class Cephalospidomorphi, Family Petromyzontidae

Dorsal fins separated, maximum length 0.9 m: SEA LAMPREY Petromyzon marinus

Small, dorsal fins not separated, 3 big teeth: Pacific lamprey Entosphenus tridentata

Small mouth = northern brook lamprey Ichthyomyzon fossor

Large mouth, 1 tooth = silver lamprey Ichthyomyzon unicuspis
Superclass Gnathostoma

Grade Chondrichthyiomorphi

Class Chondrichthyes,

Subclass Holocephali

Order Chimaeriformes, CHIMAERA.

Subclass Elasmobranchii

Order Carcharhiniformes, HAMMERHEAD SHARK

Order Squaliformes, DOGFISH SHARK

Order Rajiformes, RAYS
Grade Teleostomi

Class Sarcopterygii

Subclass Coelacanthimorpha

Order Coelacanthiformes, COELACANTH, Latimeria chalumnae (model)

Infraclass Dipnoi

Order Ceratodontiformes, Family Ceratodontidae, AUSTRALIAN LUNGFISH Neoceratodus forsteri

- lobe fins, large scales, dorsal fin continuous with caudal and anal fins (model)

Order Lepidosireniformes, Family Protopteridae, AFRICAN LUNGFISH Protopterus sp.

- string-like pectoral and pelvic fins

Class Actinopterygii

Subclass Chondrostei

Order Acipenseriformes

Family Acipenseridae

- broad scoop extends past eyes, small bony plates on belly: SHOVELNOSE STURGEON, Scaphirhynchus platorhynchus

  • 2 rows of 4 to 8 scales between pelvic fins and anal fin: WHITE STURGEON, Acipenser transmontanus

Family Polyodontidae

- paddle nose, heterocercal tail: PADDELFISH, Polyodon spathula
Order Polypteriformes

Family Polypteridae

- lobe-like fins, dorsal fin divided into a series of finlets: BICHIR Polypterus sp.
Subclass Neopterygii

Order Semiontiformes

Family Lepisosteidae

- top of head with spots, well-defined spots on fins, "short" flattish bill: SHORTNOSE GAR, Lepisosteus platostomus

Order Amiiformes

Family Amiidae

- spot at base of caudal fin, dorsal fin almost length of body, bony head: bowfin, Amia calva

Division Teleostei

Subdivision Osteoglossimorpha - bony tongues

Order Osteoglossiformes

Family Hiodontidae - mooneyes

- keel between pelvic and anal fins but no saw-tooth edge as seen in herring, dorsal fin lines up with anal fin,

big eyes: GOLDEYE, Hiodon alosoides

Subdivision Elopimorpha

Order Anguilliformes

Family Anguilidae

- gill opening crescentric, long dorsal and anal fins continuous with caudal fin: AMERICAN EEL, Anguilla rostrata

Subdivision Euteleostei
Superorder Ostariophysi

Order Cypriniformes

Family Cyprinidae

  • > 12 dorsal rays, spine leads dorsal and anal fin, barbels: CARP, Cyprinus carpio

  • big for a minnow, angular head flat on top, spot on anterior of dorsal fin, spot on caudal peduncle, scales crowded anteriorly, minute barbel 2/3 down margin of mouth: CREEK CHUB, Semotilus atromaculatus

- big for a minnow, head less angular, more round on top, no spot on anterior of dorsal fin, dusky band along length forms a triangular blotch on caudal peduncle, no crowding of scales, minute barbel at base of mouth margin: HORNYHEAD CHUB Nocomis biguttatus

dorsal fin above pelvic fin, eye centrally positioned on side of head, spot on base of dorsal fin: SPOTTAIL SHINER, Notropis hudsonius

- dorsal fin above pelvic fin, eye dorsal of center, tall "loose-looking" scales: COMMON SHINER, Notropis cornutus

- dorsal fin posterior to pelvic fins, eye centrally positioned, lateral line curves ventrally well below midline, no spot at base of caudal fin, body laterally compressed: GOLDEN SHINER, Notemigonus crysoleucas

- Rosyface shiner (Notropis rubellus)

- Pearl dace (Margariscus margarita)

- Spotfin shiner (Cyprinella spiloptera)

- Blackchin shiner (Notropis heterodon)

- Blacknose shiner (Notropis heterolepis)

- Emerald shiner (Notropis atherinoides)

- Sand shiner (Notropis stramineus)

- Mimic shiner (Notropis volucellus)

  • black line under belly, black streaks on dorsal side, black spot on d. fin: fathead minnow, Pimephales promelas

  • similar to fathead minnow but with an extra spot at base of caudal fin: bluntnose minnow, Pimephales notatus

  • pointy nose with fat lip: longnosed dace, Rhinichthyes cataractae

  • pointy nose with skinny lip: blacknosed dace, Rhinichthyes atraculatus

  • emerald shinier

  • silver-striped shiner

  • small scales (smooth), 2 horizontal lines, NORTHERN REDBELLY DACE, Chrosomus eos

Family Catostomidae

- >55 scales along lateral line (small scales), scales crowded anteriorly: COMMON WHITE SUCKER, Catostomus commersoni
Order Siluriformes

Family Ictaluridae

- tail deeply forked: CHANNEL CATFISH, Ictalurus punctatus

- tail truncate, body black , adipose fin black and not joined to caudal fin: BLACK BULLHEAD, Ameiurus melas

- looks like a black bullhead but has yellow barbells under it chin: YELLOW BULLHEAD Ameiurus natalis

- tail truncate, body dark, white adipose fin continuous with caudal fin: TADPOLE MADTOM, Noturus gyrinus

Superorder Protacanthopterygii

Order Esociformes

Family Esocidae

- big fish, 5 or fewer pores on underside of jaw: NORTHERN PIKE, Esox lucius

Family Umbridae

- smallish fish, broad head, dorsal and anal fin shifted posteriorly, vertical bands: CENTRAL MUDMINNOW, Umbra limi

Order Osmeriformes

Family Osmeridae

- adipose fin, pointy head, lots of teeth, forked tail: RAINBOW SMELT, Osmerus mordax
Order Salmoniformes

Family Salmonidae: Onchorynchus mykiss (Rainbow trout),

Brook trout (aka speckled trout, brook char) Salvelinus fontinalis
Coregonus clupeaformis (Whitefish)

Superorder Paracanthopterygii
Order Percopsiformes

Family Percopsidae

- bony perch-like broad head, adipose fin: TROUT-PERCH, Percopsis omiscomaycus
Order Gadiformes

Family Gadidae

- big ugly things with a single barbel under chin: BURBOT (aka ling, lingcod, ** eelpout **), Lota lota
Superorder Acanthopterygii

Series Atherinomorpha

Order Cyprinodontiformes

Family Fundulidae

- head flat on top, supraterminal mouth, many vertical bands on body: BANDED KILLIFISH, Fundulus diaphanus
Series Percomorpha

Order Gasterosteiformes

Family Gasterosteidae

- dorsal fin nothing more than 5 short spines, angular jaw, narrow caudal peduncle: BROOK STICKLEBACK (aka 5-spined stickleback), Culaea inconstans

Order Perciformes

Family Moronidae

- series of 6 or so horizontal lines along body, "bass-shaped": WHITE BASS, Morone chrysops

Family Centrarchidae

- spot on operculum, spot on soft dorsal fin: BLUEGILL SUNFISH, Lepomis macrochirus

- spot on operculum, no spot on dorsal fin: PUMPKINSEED SUNFISH, Lepomis gibbosus

- no spot on operculum, upper jaw (maxilla) extends past posterior margin of eye, horizontal band along side of body: LARGEMOUTH BASS, Micropterus salmoides

- -faint spot on operculum, stocky disc shape, big mouth, body mottled, eye red in life: ROCK BASS, Ambloplites rupestris

- dark mottled body, concave forehead: BLACK CRAPPIE, Poxomis nigromaculatus

Family Percidae

- yellow and black banding: YELLOW PERCH, Perca flavescens

- large, torpedo-shpaed, black spot at posterior base of dorsal fin, white spot on tip of lower lobe of caudal fin, no spot on pectoral fin: WALLEYE, Sander vitreus

- large, torpedo-shpaed, no black spot at posterior base of dorsal fin, no white spot on tip of lower lobe of caudal fin, spot on pectoral fin: SAUGER, Sander canadense

- small cylindrical fish with tiger stripes, pelvic fins anterior (cf Fundulus): LOGPERCH, Percina caprodes

- small cylindrical fish with row of black diamonds on each side: BLACKSIDED DARTER, Percina maculata

- small cylindrical fish with dot under eye, markings of M & W superimposed on sides: JOHNNY DARTER, Etheostoma nigrum

- small cylindrical fish with bar under eye, markings of indistinct blotchy X's along side: IOWA DARTER, Etheostoma exile
Family Sciaenidae - drums

- steeply sloping forehead to a long dorsal fin divided into spiny and soft parts: FRESHWATER DRUM, Aplodinotus grunniens

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