Amia calva
Linnaeus 1766
Family Amiidae

Lateral view of a bowfin
From top to bottom, the bowfins pictured above were collected in Florida from Gilchrist and Wakulla counties in 2016 and 2015 respectively. They are now specimens in the Florida Museum ichthyology collection. Top: UF 238466 Bottom: UF 188035 Florida Museum photo by Zachary Randall

Bowfins have a large bony throat plate and a long, cylindrical body. They are found in standing water in swamps, sloughs, lakes and in the backwaters of lowland streams. Bowfins are often found near woody debris and vegetation, and are members of the bowfin family.

Status & distribution

  • Status — Native freshwater
  • Florida Distribution — Western and North Central and Peninsula drainages
  • River Drainages — Perdido River, Escambia River, Blackwater River, Yellow River, Choctawhatchee River, Apalachicola River, Ochlockee River, minor Gulf tributaries, Suwannee River, Tampa Bay, the Myakka or Peace River, Lake Okeechobee, Caloosahatchee River, the Everglades, India River, St. John’s River and St. Mary’s River
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