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

Bigmouth Buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus

Catostomidae (Suckers)
Trophic Class
Is Exotic to Iowa?
Is Lithophilous Spawner?
Is Hybrid?
State Listing Status
Not Listed
Assessment Program Statistics

This species was found at 55 bioassessment sites, 2 rapid fish bioassessment sites, 35 fisheries assessment sites, and 0 fisheries presence-only assessment sites. In total, it was collected at 92 distinct sites, or 6.8% of the 1350 total sites monitored by the bioassessment program. It is the 51st most commonly collected species.

The Bigmouth Buffalo was collected in 65 bioassessment sampling sessions and 63 fisheries assessment sessions. It was present in 2 rapid bioassessment sessions and 0 presence-only sessions.

The biological assessment program has collected a total of 1,030 individual Bigmouth Buffalo specimens, ranking it the #63 most collected fish.

Species Characteristics

Body color varies from bluish-green dorsally, shading to coppery-blue on the sides, then fading to a light bluish-gray belly. It has a deeply rounded body with small eyes set close to the snout. Its head is large, round, with thin lips surrounding a large, oblique mouth. The lateral line is complete with 32 to 40 large cycloid scales. The dorsal fin is sickle-shaped with 23 to 32 rays. Pharyngeal teeth are short and fragile with about 165 per arch. Adults commonly reach 15- to 27-inches long and weigh 2 to 14 pounds. Individuals over 40 pounds are not uncommon in commercial landings.

Species Distribution Maps

HUC12 watersheds where this species has been found