Fun Black Buffalo Fish Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Jan 31, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde
Black buffalo fish facts on a freshwater suckerfish.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.5 Min

There are five different types of buffalo fishes, namely the fleshylip,  Usumacinta, smallmouth, bigmouth, and black buffalo. Black buffalo, Ictiobus Niger, is a freshwater fish from the sucker family native to America.

Black buffalo fishes are dark green and have dark green or gold on the sides of their body. They are considered the largest North American suckers.

They are often confused with the carp fish species however, they are different and belong to the minnow family non-native to the United States. They also differ in color and appearance buffalo fishes are grayish or tea colored and carp are usually bronze to brown colored.

Black buffalo fish, Ictiobus Niger, is an omnivorous species and their pattern helps them attack prey easily as well as hide from possible predators. Black buffalo Ictiobus Niger. It is a popular freshwater fish consumed by people in different parts of the world including the United States and North America.

They are also raised by certain individuals. In this article, you will find some fun and interesting facts about the black buffalo fish. For more such relatable content check out these bonito fish facts and rainbow-trout facts.

Black Buffalo Fish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Black Buffalo Fish?

Black buffalo fish is a type of fish that belongs to the kingdom Animalia and order Cypriniformes.

What class of animal does a Black Buffalo Fish belong to?

Black buffalo fish are a type that belongs to class Actinopterygii, family Catostomidae, and genus Ictiobus.  

How many Black Buffalo Fishes are there in the world?

Black buffalo fish's exact population is not evaluated however, black buffalo Ictiobus Niger species are endemic to America and have been estimated to be vulnerable and in decline.

Where does a Black Buffalo Fish live?

Black buffalo fish from the Mississippi River occurs in ponds, lakes, rivers, streams as well as the ocean. These species are endemic to North America. They spawn in shallow waters in spring.

What is a Black Buffalo Fish's habitat?

Black buffalo fish in Michigan are freshwater fishes and are seen in ponds, river basins, lakes, rivers, streams with strong currents, and deep waters. They prefer flooded areas to feed on appropriate vegetation to raise their young effectively.

Who do Black Buffalo Fishes live with?

Ictiobus Niger, black buffalo fishes of Wisconsin, are solitary beings however, they coexist with other species of their own kind. They mostly reside in the lower levels of the aquatic water body. Missouri black buffalo fish are found in the Missouri region. They spawn in shallow water.  Their distribution occurs throughout Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, and South Dakota.

How long does a Black Buffalo Fish live?

The oldest black buffalo fish lived until 24 years of age. They become sexually mature by the age of two. Their life expectancy is dependant on their diet, and habitat. They cannot survive in extreme conditions. Their distribution occurs throughout Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, Mississippi. Little information exists about the life history of the black buffalo fish.

How do they reproduce?

Reproduction occurs similar to other species of fish in spring. Breeding and spawning occur in a similar way to other species and they lay eggs. The breeding season is in the spring months.

Buffalo blackfish adults reproduce in deeply flooded areas. They spawn in shallow waters. These fishes spawn during spring.

Adult males follow and support the adult female until she releases her eggs. Adult reproduction through fertilization takes place externally where the eggs and the sperm come together. Breeding and spawning occur in the months from April to June.

The eggs hatch within 24-36 hours. Adults are scarcely involved in raising the young however, they place them in a location where they can easily find vegetation to feed on and are away from predators. Over their lifetime the adult females lay about 9000 eggs.

What is their conservation status?

Black buffalo is classified as of Least Concern by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN). Protection of natural resources including both flora and fauna is essential for the sustenance of aquatic life and the ecosystem.

Increasing global climate crises have severely affected natural resources and wildlife as well. The IUCN red list contains information related to the conservation status of various other species.

Black Buffalo Fish Fun Facts

What do Black Buffalo Fishes look like?

Mississippi river where Black Buffalo Fish spawn

Black buffalo fishes are dark green and have dark green or gold on the sides of their body. They have a streamlined body that facilitates movement. Their fin color is dark gray, or blue in color.

Their dorsal fin has soft rays. The dorsal fin helps them in locomotion. Their dorsal fin has 27-31 rays. They have thick lips at the end of their snout.

Blunt snout and broadly rounded body. Males tend to appear different in coloration and pattern as compared to female species. They can be introduced into different water bodies like rivers as long as their habitat suites them.

How cute are they?

These fish species are relatively bigger in size and reside in deep waters hence it's difficult to spot them at all times. Buffalo fish are exotic beings and are a must-see for fish explorers. They are enjoyed as food fishes in various parts of the world. They consume omnivorous food.

How do they communicate?

They communicate via mating through body movements. Buffalofishes are solitary beings hence other forms of communication are limited. Buffalofishes also make use of acoustic and tactile means to communicate.

How big is a Black Buffalo Fish?

Black buffalo fish size range 20-30 in (51-76 cm) in length which is ten times bigger than fluke-fish which is 8.7-23.6 in (22-60 cm).

How fast can a Black Buffalo Fish swim?

Black buffalo fishes are slow and reside on the bottom levels of large rivers, pond,s and lakes. They are a popular game fish and use their ability to camouflage themselves to attack prey as well as hide from predators. In rivers, one can also find different varieties of fish.

How much does a Black Buffalo Fish weigh?

Black buffalo fish from the Mississippi River weigh 10-30 lb (4.5-13.6 kg). The biggest fish in the ocean is the whale shark.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female of the species are not addressed differently. They differ slightly in coloration and pattern and also differ in reproductive functions.

What would you call a baby Black Buffalo Fish?

Baby black buffalo fish can be referred to as a fry when young. Parents are rarely involved in raising the young except that they lay them in flooded regions where the young have access to enough vegetation to feed on.

What do they eat?

The black buffalo fish diet is primarily omnivores. They feed on mollusks, larvae and vegetation, and planktons as food. Black buffalo fish meals are consumed as and when they feel hungry and not during any particular time or schedule. Buffalo fishes might be kept by breeders who later sell them for consumption.  

Are they dangerous?

No, these species of fish are not dangerous and are consumed both by humans as well as animals. They are a popular game fish species.

Would they make a good pet?

Not really, they are kept by fish breeders who plan to sell them further as meat but not as pets. They also require adequate habitat and space to live peacefully.

In the wild they have the tendency to grow big in size and might cost extra to take care of them hence opting for smaller pet fishes like a convict-cichlid is a better idea.

The convict-cichlid is accommodative toward beginners as well and accommodates different kinds of foods. You can be introduced to these species further when you reach them physically and take guidance from a professional in the field.

Did you know...

Bigmouth buffalo is the largest in the family of buffalo fishes and smallmouth buffalo fish is the smallest in the family. Bigmouth buffalo fish is size is extremely big as compared to smallmouth buffalo fishes.

Bigmouth buffalo fish is vulnerable and bigmouth buffalo status is in decline due to the deterioration of natural resources.

Smallmouth buffalo are big in size as well however is not extremely small and are freshwater fish. Smallmouth black buffalo fish is called the Ictiobus Niger Smallmouth buffalo populations have decreased due to pollution and other deterioration of natural resources.

Fish have been on earth for more than 450 million years and mammals only for 200 million years. There are more species of fish than any other category including amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals combined.  

A person who studies fish for a living is called an ichthyologist. They are professionals in the field and can be consulted for any information related to fish species.

Fishes have a specialized sense organ called the lateral line which works much like a radar helping them move through murky water.

Freshwater and saltwater aquariums are the most popular choice of pets in the United States. About 12 million households have an aquarium.

The first public aquarium ever was in London followed by New York. Prior to this, the idea of keeping fish as a pet too was not common.

The most unhealthy fish to eat is bluefin tuna and the healthiest fish is salmon. Some species of fish if consumed in excess can do more harm than good hence they should be consumed in proportional amounts to avoid any health complication in later stages of life.

How did the Black Buffalo Fish get its name?

They are named buffalo fish primarily due to the fact that they are big-mouthed and they are largely black in color with other colors as well which is a unique identifying feature. Black buffalo is also called plainly a buffalo.

Is the Black Buffalo Fish a bottom feeder?

Yes, the black buffalo occupies the lower levels of the water body and feeds on the bottom as well. They are omnivores and feed on both mollusks and vegetation available in the water body.

They feed on anything they can swallow. While fishing for these species the bait is set at the bottom levels of the river basins, ponds, or lakes to catch them easily.

They are an essential part of marine ecology. If you too wish to see them it's best to visit an aquarium or conservation center where they are kept since seeing them in their natural habitat will be difficult given that they are largely bottom-dwelling species and also seen near regions with strong currents.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including rainbow-cichlid facts or Arctic char facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Black Buffalo Fish coloring pages.

*Please note that this is an image of a western buffalo bream fish, not a black buffalo fish. If you have an image of a black buffalo fish please let us know at

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

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Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde

Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

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Ankit ShindeBachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit is a Journalism and Mass Media graduate from the University of Mumbai. With experience in SEO, blog and article writing, and fiction writing, he is a versatile writer and content creator. In his free time, Ankit enjoys reading, writing, and listening to music.

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