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Pallid Sturgeon
Scaphirhynchus albus
Status: Endangered


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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.

Pallid Sturgeon - click to view enlargement

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 1930.

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 sturgeon.

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.

Funding Provided 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
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