150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

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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 TitleThe fish to which Iowa gave its name
Common Name of FishIowa Darter
Scientific Name of FishEtheostoma exile
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and Creditmale Iowa Darter, Fish Lake, MN. Photo credit Konrad Schmidt
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

The Iowa Darter is a very slender, moderate-sized darter. It is bright green with dark brown blotches and small red spots on the sides, belly fading to yellow or gold and white. The Iowa Darter lives in vegetated areas of clear, sluggish streams and glacial lakes, marshes and ponds. It is most abundant in the natural lakes in Iowa, but can be found in rivers and streams in northern Iowa, as well as the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Forest clearing and drainage practices have reduced its habitat and warmed the water enough to eliminate this species in the southern part of its range. In the United States, it is now common only in non-agricultural areas. Spawning occurs in sandy areas or beneath stream banks in spring. During the spawning act, the male places its pelvic fins over the dorsal fin of the female. Only a few eggs are laid in each spawning sequence. Stream sampling since 1994 has only resulted in 150 individuals collected in Iowa.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://www.iowadnr.gov/idnr/Fishing/Iowa-Fish-Species/Fish-Details/SpeciesCode/OWD
Your NameJeff Kopaska, Iowa Chapter of AFS