Description: The pallid sturgeon is one of the largest fish species to occur
in the Missouri and lower Mississippi rivers with a maximum weight of nearly
85 pounds. It has a flattened snout with the mouth located back from the end
of the snout. It is much lighter in color thanthe shovelnose sturgeon.
The skeletal structure of this species is primarily cartilaginous.
Habitat and Habits: The pallid sturgeon is a species that
occurs in large rivers. It is found in free-flowing areas of rivers
with rocky or sandy bottom areas. They inhabit the bottom in areas
of strong current.
Photographer: Wayne Hathaway
The biology of the pallid sturgeon is not well known. Spawning
occurs during summer, but there is no detailed description of
spawning areas. Aquatic insects and small fish of various species
are the food of the pallid sturgeon.
Distribution: The pallid sturgeon occurs in the Missouri and
the lower Mississippi rivers. There is also a record of a single
immature fish caught in the Mississippi River at Keokuk, Iowa, in
Conservation Efforts: Studies are being conducted to provide
better information on the life history and habitat requirements,
develop propagation methods and population status for the pallid
Reasons For Listing: The pallid sturgeon population appears
to have decline sharply during the last 30 years. This decline has
coincided with numerous habitat modifications on the Missouri and
Mississippi rivers. These modifications have included the
construction of numerous dams, changes in water flows, reduction of
habitat diversity and possible loss of spawning habitat.
by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
Mailing Address: IDALS, Wallace State Office Building, 502 E. 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319: PH: 515-281-5321