Bigmouth Buffalo - Ictiobus cyprinellus
The Bigmouth Buffalo has a more terminal mouth, (that is, opening at the front of the head), which allows it to feed on plankton as well as bottom organisms and detritus. These barrel-shaped fish are rarely taken on hook and line. Bigmouth Buffalo can produce hundreds of thousands of eggs and live over 20 years.
Usually dark colored (brownish or blackish), often with a coppery sheen; sometimes greenish or gray. Underside whitish or yellow; fins dark.
Western Hemisphere Range
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Make long spawning movements from lower Missouri River to upstream areas. Dispersal downstream follows.
Large rivers and reservoirs. Spawn in larger streams with backwater areas.
Plankton, crustaceans, and diptera larvae are the major food items.
Downstream portions of Yellowstone River important as rearing areas. Adults school.
Can reach 112 years of age (Lackmann et al. 2019). Spawns May - July at 60 degrees F. in shallow water. Sexual mature at 3 yrs. Spawns over bottom or on vegetation. Incubation: 8 - 14 days. Spawn peaks early to mid June on middle Missouri River.
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Lackmann, A.R., A.H. Andrews. M.G. Butler, E.S. Bielak-Lackmann, and M.E. Clark. 2019. Bigmouth Buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus sets freshwater teleost record as improved age analysis reveals centenarian longevity. Communications Biology 2(1):1-14.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Stash, S.W. 2001. Distribution, relative abundance, and habitat associations of Milk River fishes related to irrigation diversion dams. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 82 p.
- Stringer, A.L. 2018. Status of Northern Pearl Dace and chrosomid dace in prairie streams of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 150 p.
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