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Shovelnose Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus)


The Shovelnose Sturgeon or Scaphirhynchus platorynchus is one of the smallest of the freshwater sturgeons growing to about 30" in length, and weighing about 5 lbs maximum. Also known as the Sand Sturgeon, Hackleback or Switchtail, these fish are sought after not only for their flesh, but for their eggs as well, which are using to make caviar.  As you can see in the picture above, this fish has bony scutes along the sides and back, and four barbels on the underside of the rostrum. These four barbels form a straight line.  You can learn how to tell the difference between a Lake Sturgeon, a Pallid Sturgeon and a Shovelnose Sturgeon in the video below.

Shovelnose Sturgeon are found in the Missouri River and the Mississippi River systems. They use their vacuum-like mouth to suck up its food, which included insect larvae and small fish as well as crustaceans.  Because of its slow growth rate, late sexual maturity and the fact that it doesn't spawn every year, this fish is very vulnerable to overfishing.

If you have any additional information about the Shovelnose Sturgeon please leave us a comment below.


    

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