CSP2220 - Fish Identification

Course CodeCSP2220
Course TitleFish Identification

Note: Tuition is not applicable to FWS, BLM and NPS employees

The purpose of this course is to develop participants' fish identification skills and knowledge of freshwater fish species. Participants learn an overall system for identifying fish, including collection labeling and preservation, sample processing, use of distribution maps, use of dichotomous keys, and taxonomic procedures (e.g., counting scales and rays, extracting and counting pharyngeal teeth). Course location will determine regional freshwater fish that are emphasized (cyprinids and percids at the NCTC); however, specimens from nearly all North American freshwater fish families will be available for study. This course is 'hands on' and lab- intensive. Field exercises provide fresh specimens for identification. EFISH - Fishes of Virginia - The Virtual Aquarium

This class is available for 3 hours of Graduate credit through West Virginia University. The graduate credit option is considerably more rigorous and includes both pre and post course work (readings, writing papers and taking an examination).


  • Correctly identify unknown fish by following the methods described in the course
  • Use proper fish-collection labeling and preservation techniques
  • Discuss the benefits of using a combination of reference sources for fish identification
  • Use distributional maps as an aid to fish identification
  • Employ dichotomous keys
  • Discuss identification tricks-of-the-trade
  • Correctly obtain morphometric information needed for fish identification

Target Audience:

Anyone needing fish identification skills

Delivery MethodInstructor Led
Non-FWS Fee$1,195.00
Instructional Hours38
Course Content ContactMatthew Patterson: matthew_patterson@fws.gov; (304) 876-7473; matthew_patterson@fws.gov
Curriculum CategoryEcology and Field Biology
Course FrequencyEvery other year
Registration LinkLMS
Extracted from DOI LEARN on11/25/2015 4:00:28 AM

Schedule:  CSP2220 - Fish Identification