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Bigmouth Buffalo Fish

Ichtiobus cyprinellus

Did you know?

  • Big mouth buffalo fish are part of the Cypriniformes family, which they share with other "sucker" fish.
  • This species is one of the longest lived and latest-maturing fishing in native to North America. The oldest recorded individual was estimated to be 127 years old.
  • Other common names for this species include: Gourdhead fish, Marblehead fish, brown buffalo fish, roundhead buffalo fish, and redmouth buffalo fish
  • Bigmouth buffalo play an important role in the ecosystem. They filter-feed on the invasive zebra mussel larvae. The fish also are prey for several predatory fish species.
  • Bigmouth buffalo spawn in spring. For everyone 1 pound the adult female weighs, it can lay 550,000 eggs

Threat Level

  • Unknown
  • Common
  • Near Threatened
  • Threatened
  • Endangered
  • Critically Endangered
  • Extinct in the Wild


Bigmouth buffalo fish are widespread and abundant.


Their geographic distribution ranges from the Canadian province of Manitoba to the southern portions of the Mississippi River in Alabama. They have been introduced to the western states of Arizona and California for commercial purposes.


Highly vegetated freshwater rivers. This species can tolerate high levels of turbidity and low levels of oxygen

We care about bigmouth buffalo fish

The Saint Louis Zoo takes care of this species in the Missouri River Aquarium at the end of River's Edge at the Zoo. Learn more about how we are helping wildlife around the world.

Dedicated to Conservation

Find this animal in River's Edge


River's Edge

Take a journey along a mythical waterway through four continents to discover how wildlife, plants and people interact. River's Edge is the Saint Louis Zoo's first immersion exhibit—a lushly planted naturalistic environment showcasing multiple species from around the world.

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