150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

This list is still in progress and being added to weekly. Check back again soon!

150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

In 2020, the American Fisheries Society will celebrate its 150th Anniversary. As part of the celebration, the Society will be calling attention to 150 fishes. We solicited nominations of fishes for the list by the Society’s membership.

The 150 Fishes list is a celebration of the biodiversity of freshwater and marine fishes of North America. These fishes will help tell the story of fish and fisheries of the continent. They may illustrate unique life histories, beauty, conservation issues, and challenges of managing and conserving these animals and their habitats.  These fishes represent our native biodiversity, but also illustrates how invasives and our own human nature have had impacts on our aquatic resources. Hence, this list will primarily focus on native species but may include non-natives when they tell a compelling fisheries story. From the stories of these fishes, the Society and the public can learn to better appreciate these amazing natural resources and be challenged to ensure that future generations will be able to experience these fishes in their native settings.

Nomination Process

Fish nominations are now closed.

Circulation Process

The 150 Fishes list will reside at the 150th Anniversary Website, information about individual fish from the list will be circulated through various social media platforms throughout the year.

This list is meant to be a fun for members and informative for the public. It is unlikely we will be able to include all nominations. We acknowledge that every fish has a story. There may be opportunities to discuss all the nominated fishes in the future.


Catchy TitleDiamond in the rough
Common Name of FishCrystal darter
Scientific Name of FishCrystallaria asprella
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditCrystal darter collected on the St. Croix River near Taylors Falls, MN. Photo by Alex Franzen
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

Catching a crystal darter is likely one of the most illusive and rewarding experiences for any fisheries biologist. Crystal darters exhibit striking external morphology culminating in a slender appearance and 3 or 4 dark saddles on the dorsal surface. Little is known about the life history of the crystal darter and of the 14 darter species in Minnesota, it is perhaps the rarest and least known. We do know that the preferred habitat of this species are gravely areas in medium to large rivers. Populations in Minnesota are at the northern most extent of the range for the species but luckily the preferred habitat of crystal darters in the St. Croix River is protected as a National Scenic Riverway. Their rare existence, unknown life history, and relatively low abundance caused the crystal darter to be designated as endangered in Minnesota in 2013. If you are lucky enough to catch one, savor the moment. They don't come around too often.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://www.dnr.state.mn.us/rsg/profile.html?action=elementDetail&selectedElement=AFCQC01010
Your NameAlex Franzen