Iowa DNR
River & Stream Biological Monitoring
Fish and Benthic Macroinvertebrate Surveys
Physical Habitat Assessments

Bowfin Amia calva

Amiidae (Bowfins)
Trophic Class
Top Carnivore
Is Exotic to Iowa?
Is Lithophilous Spawner?
Is Hybrid?
State Listing Status
Not Listed
Assessment Program Statistics

This species was found at 6 bioassessment sites, 0 rapid fish bioassessment sites, 2 fisheries assessment sites, and 0 fisheries presence-only assessment sites. In total, it was collected at 8 distinct sites, or 0.6% of the 1442 total sites monitored by the bioassessment program. It is the 105th most commonly collected species.

The Bowfin was collected in 8 bioassessment sampling sessions and 2 fisheries assessment sessions. It was present in 0 rapid bioassessment sessions and 0 presence-only sessions.

The biological assessment program has collected a total of 20 individual Bowfin specimens, ranking it the #115 most collected fish.

Species Characteristics

Its body is dark olive above with lighter sides and cream-colored belly. The long dorsal fin is dark green with a narrow longitudinal olive-colored band near the top margin and another near the base. Males have a dark spot on the caudal fin, bordered with yellow or orange. Lower fins are green, vivid as fresh paint, during the breeding season. There are 66 to 68 scales in the lateral line. The dorsal fin has 47 to 51 soft rays and the anal fin has 9 or 10 rays. Its head is flattened on top and the mouth is large. Its teeth are sharp and strongly set in the jaws. Commonly reaches 6 to 8 pounds or more.

Species Distribution Maps

HUC12 watersheds where this species has been found