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A centenarian Bigmouth buffalo, Ictiobus cyprinellus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Catostomidae
Subfamily: Ictiobinae
Genus: Ictiobus
Rafinesque, 1820
Type species
Catostomus bubalus
Rafinesque, 1818

See text

Ictiobus, also known as buffalofish or simply buffalo, is a genus of freshwater fish native to North America, specifically the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala. They are the largest and longest-lived of the North American suckers, reaching up to 1.23 m (4.0 ft) in length[1] and more than 125 years of age.[2] At up to 127 years for bigmouth buffalo, they can reach the highest known age for any freshwater teleost, which is a group of more than 12,000 species.[2][3] Black buffalo and smallmouth buffalo are also long-lived, with ages approaching or exceeding six decades reported.[3][4] Buffalofish are not carp, nor is any other catostomid;[3] they belong to different scientific families having evolved on separate continents. Buffalofish live in most types of freshwater bodies where panfish are found, such as ponds, creeks, rivers, and lakes. Ictiobus were caught by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

From an angler's point of view, buffalofish were historically not a popular game fish because they are difficult to catch by hook and line (even though they put up a great fight). However, in the 21st Century new sportfisheries have emerged and have quickly made them easy targets of night bowfishing.[5][6][7][8] They are now de facto game fish across much of their range, are in decline,[3][9][10][2] and protective measures are needed.[5][6][7]


Five species are placed in the genus:[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2011). Species of Ictiobus in FishBase. August 2011 version.
  2. ^ a b c Lackmann, Alec R.; Sereda, Jeff; Pollock, Mike; Bryshun, Reid; Chupik, Michelle; McCallum, Katlin; Villeneuve, James; Bielak-Lackmann, Ewelina S.; Clark, Mark E. (2022-10-17). "Bet-hedging bigmouth buffalo (Ictiobus cyprinellus) recruit episodically over a 127-year timeframe in Saskatchewan". Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 80 (2): 313–329. doi:10.1139/cjfas-2022-0122. S2CID 252988048.
  3. ^ a b c d Lackmann, Alec R.; Andrews, Allen H.; Butler, Malcolm G.; Bielak-Lackmann, Ewelina S.; Clark, Mark E. (2019-05-23). "Bigmouth Buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus sets freshwater teleost record as improved age analysis reveals centenarian longevity". Communications Biology. 2 (1): 197. doi:10.1038/s42003-019-0452-0. ISSN 2399-3642. PMC 6533251. PMID 31149641.
  4. ^ Long, James M.; Snow, Richard A.; Shoup, Daniel E.; Bartnicki, Jory B. (2023-06-09). "Validation and Comparison of Age Estimates for Smallmouth Buffalo in Oklahoma Based on Otoliths, Pectoral Fin Rays, and Opercula". North American Journal of Fisheries Management. doi:10.1002/nafm.10865. ISSN 0275-5947.
  5. ^ a b Scarnecchia, Dennis L.; Schooley, Jason D. (October 2020). "Bowfishing in the United States: History, Status, Ecological Impact, and a Need for Management". Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science. 123 (3–4): 285–338. doi:10.1660/062.123.0301. ISSN 0022-8443. S2CID 226238443.
  6. ^ a b Scarnecchia, Dennis L.; Schooley, Jason D.; Lackmann, Alec R.; Rider, Steven J.; Riecke, Dennis K.; McMullen, Joseph; Ganus, J. Eric; Steffensen, Kirk D.; Kramer, Nicholas W.; Shattuck, Zachary R. (December 2021). "The Sport Fish Restoration Program as a Funding Source to Manage and Monitor Bowfishing and Monitor Inland Commercial Fisheries". Fisheries. 46 (12): 595–604. doi:10.1002/fsh.10679. ISSN 0363-2415. S2CID 244170626.
  7. ^ a b Rypel, Andrew L.; Saffarinia, Parsa; Vaughn, Caryn C.; Nesper, Larry; O’Reilly, Katherine; Parisek, Christine A.; Miller, Matthew L.; Moyle, Peter B.; Fangue, Nann A.; Bell‐Tilcock, Miranda; Ayers, David; David, Solomon R. (December 2021). "Goodbye to "Rough Fish": Paradigm Shift in the Conservation of Native Fishes". Fisheries. 46 (12): 605–616. doi:10.1002/fsh.10660. ISSN 0363-2415. S2CID 237713350.
  8. ^ Montague, Graham F.; Schooley, Jason D.; Scarnecchia, Dennis L.; Snow, Richard A. (2023-05-05). "Bowfishing shoot‐and‐release: high short‐term mortality of nongame fishes and its management implications". North American Journal of Fisheries Management. doi:10.1002/nafm.10904. ISSN 0275-5947.
  9. ^ Eddy, Samuel; Underhill, James Campbell; Surber, Thaddeus (1974). Northern Fishes: With Special Reference to the Upper Mississippi Valley (3rd ed.). Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-1-4529-1098-7. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  10. ^ Lackmann, Alec R.; Kratz, Brandon J.; Bielak-Lackmann, Ewelina S.; Jacobson, Reed I.; Sauer, Derek J.; Andrews, Allen H.; Butler, Malcolm G.; Clark, Mark E. (2021-04-09). "Long-lived population demographics in a declining, vulnerable fishery — bigmouth buffalo (Ictiobus cyprinellus) of Jamestown Reservoir, North Dakota". Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 78 (10): 1486–1496. doi:10.1139/cjfas-2020-0485. S2CID 234864913.

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