Smallmouth Buffalo
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Name and Code
Catostomidae - suckers
Ictiobus bubalus
Taxonomic Authority
(Rafinesque, 1818)
Common Name(s)
Smallmouth Buffalo
French Name
buffalo à petite bouche
Family TSN
Parent TSN
Species TSN
Conservation Status
Global Rank (GRank)
G5 (2012-02-20)
National Rank (NRank)
Provincial Rank (SRank)
SARO Status
AFS Status
Ecological Value
Ontario Origin
General Abundance
Economic Importance
Habitat and Feeding
General Habitat(s)
lacustrine; riverine
Trophic Class
benthic insectivore
Thermal Regime
Habitat Preference
warm, clear to moderately turbid pools, backwaters, oxbows and deeper waters of large rivers, reservoirs and lakes
Reproductive Guild
Nonguarders: Open substratum spawners: Litho-pelagophils
Spawning Habitat(s)
lacustrine; riverine
Spawning Season
Spawning Month(s)
Spawning Temperature (°C)
Nursery Habitat(s)
lacustrine; riverine
Size and Age
Adult Length (cm)
41.1-60.5 TL
Adult Weight (kg)
Age at Maturity (yrs)
4-5 (m); 6 (f)
Maximum Length (cm)
122 TL
Maximum Weight (kg)
Lifespan (yrs)
Ontario Range Map
Smallmouth Buffalo range
Ontario Distribution
Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair; introduced to U.S. waters of Lake Erie
Smallmouth Buffalo photograph
hybridization with Black Buffalo and Bigmouth Buffalo has been reported; Ontario populations may be hybrids
Ontario Records
Record Length (cm)
Record Weight (kg)
Information Sources
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Goldstein, R.M. and T.P. Simon. 1999. Toward a united definition of guild structure for feeding ecology of North American freshwater fishes. Pages 123-202 in T.P. Simon [Ed]. Assessing the sustainability and biological integrity of water resources using fish communities. CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL. xx + 671 pp.
Holm, E., N. Mandrak, and M. Burridge. 2009. The ROM field guide to freshwater fishes of Ontario. Royal Ontario Museum Science Publication. Toronto, ON. 462 pp.
Hubbs, C.L. and K.F. Lagler. 1964. Fishes of the Great Lakes region. University of Michigan Press. Ann Arbor, MI. xv + 213 pp.
Hubbs, C.L., K.F. Lagler, and G.R. Smith. 2004. Fishes of the Great Lakes region, revised edition. University of Michigan Press. Ann Arbor, MI. xvii + 276 pp.
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). 2014. On-line database. (, accessed 07 June 2014.
Kay, L.K., R. Wallus, and B.L. Yeager. 1994. Reproductive biology and early life history of fishes in the Ohio River drainage. Volume 2. Catostomidae. Tennessee Valley Authority. Chattanooga, TN. vii + 242 pp.
Lee, D.S., C.R. Gilbert, C.H. Hocutt, R.E. Jenkins, D.E. McAllister, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History Publication 1980-12. Raleigh, NC. x + 867 pp.
Meador, R.M. and D.M. Carlisle. 2007. Quantifying tolerance indicator values for common stream fishes of the United States. Ecol. Indicators. 7:329-338.
NatureServe. 2016. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe. Arlington, Virginia. (, accessed 11 June 2016.
Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico, second edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Boston, MA. xix + 663 pp.
Page, L.M., H. Espinosa-Pérez, L.T. Findley, C.R. Gilbert, R.N. Lea, N.E. Mandrak, R.L. Mayden, and J.S. Nelson. 2013. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 7th Edition. American Fisheries Society, Spec. Publ. 34. Bethesda, MD. 243 pp.
Phillips, G.L., W.D. Schmid, and J.C. Underhill. 1982. Fishes of the Minnesota region. University of Minnesota Press. Minneapolis, MN. x + 248 pp.
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Scharpf, C. 2006. Annotated checklist of North American freshwater fishes, including subspecies and undescribed forms. Part II: Catostomidae through Mugilidae. American Currents 32(4):1-39.
Simon, T.P. 1999. Assessment of Balon’s reproductive guilds with application to midwestern North American freshwater fishes. Pages 97-122 in T.P. Simon [Ed]. Assessing the sustainability and biological integrity of water resources using fish communities. CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL. xx + 671 pp.
Smith, P.W. 2002. The fishes of Illinois. University of Illinois Press. Urbana and Chicago, IL. xxix + 314 pp.
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Stauffer, Jr., J.R., R.W. Criswell and D.P. Fischer. 2016. The fishes of Pennsylvania. Cichlid Press. El Paso, TX. 556 pp.
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