Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) 
Order Acipenseriformes (Sturgeons and paddlefishes)
Family  Acipenseridae (Sturgeons)

Genus/species: Scaphirhynchus albus 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Shark-like with heterocercal tale and scutes instead of scales; gray above, white below. Flat, upturned head. Four long barbels. One of the rarest and largest freshwater fishes in North America; length to over 2 m (6.5 feet), weight over 75 lbs.

Pallid Sturgeon  8395624080_f62868641d_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and their large tributaries, especially the Kansas River, from Montana to the Gulf
of Mexico. Found on the bottom in turbid, deep, fast
 flowing rivers over sand and gravel bars. 

DIET: Mollusks, insects, and small fishes. S. albus  is a bottom feeder. In addition to taste buds on the tips of the barbels it has sensory organs on the ventral surface of the
snout that pick up electrical fields emanating from prey. The sturgeon stirs up the muck with its snout, then the mouth, which is folded in.

REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT: In the wild, external fertilization, eggs scattered and not guarded. However, natural reproduction is almost non-existent. Since 1990 over 150,000 pallid sturgeon have been raised in hatcheries and released.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Life span: up to 50 years or more.

CONSERVATION STATUS:: ESA: federally listed 1990: Endangered.Our juvenile pallids came from Gavin’s Point National Fish Hatchery in Montana. The Steinhart is permitted to display these 88 A Docent & Guide View of the Steinhart Aquarium Species
endangered species as long as an educational message is presented about their distribution, endangered status, and threats facing them.

REMARKS: Pallid and shovelnose sturgeon are
 known to hybridize, another potential threat to the species survival in the southern portion of the pallid’s range where shovel nose sturgeon dominate. Often referred to as the Dinosaur of the Missouri, the pallid sturgeon is known from 70 million years ago and at one time was the top freshwater carnivore. Like all sturgeon, have a cartilaginous skeleton.

Water Planet, Feeding Cluster WP31 


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