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Bigmouth buffalo (left), smallmouth buffalo (right)

Bigmouth and Smallmouth Buffalo

Bigmouth buffalo and smallmouth buffalo are members of the sucker family and both native to the Missouri River System in North Dakota. Bigmouth buffalo (left) have long filaments on their gills that strain food from the water and they feed primarily by filter feeding, similar to paddlefish.

Smallmouth buffalo (right) by contrast feed primarily on the bottom.

Buffalo are sometimes referred to as ‘buffalo carp’ to the chagrin of biologists. Buffalo and carp are not even closely related. Both species of buffalo are sucker species native to North Dakota. Common carp are an introduced species belonging to the minnow family that cause great problems to aquatic ecosystems in our state and across North America.