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Monday, July 11, 2016

Common Sturgeon

Photo Credit: Cacophony
The common sturgeon has changed very little since the age of the dinosaurs. At that time, its ancestors were among the most abundant fish in the sea.

The common sturgeon is one of the biggest fish to use rivers and lakes for breeding grounds. Some sturgeons grow to several yards in length and may outlive humans.

The common sturgeon is a bottom-dwelling fish, spending much of its time inshore, where the seabed is 50 to 150 feet deep. It is the only European sturgeon that can live in full salt water as well as in the brackish (mixed salt and fresh) water of estuaries. After spawning in fresh water, some adult sturgeon remain near rivers, while others travel more than 600 miles throughout the sea of their range.

The sturgeon forages for food on the seabed, using its long, shovel-shaped snout to root around in the mud and sand. For sensitive barbels (feelers) under its snout feel for edible morsels.

For its size, the common sturgeon feeds on a fairly small prey, mainly invertebrates, such as mollusks, worms, and shrimp. A larger adult will also eat small fish, such as gobies and sand eels. During its spawning trips up rivers, the sturgeon does not eat at all.

The fry (young fish) developing in the rivers feed on freshwater prey, such as insects larvae and aquatic worms.

Did you know?
  • Sturgeons were once so plentiful in North America that dishes of caviar were provided free in bars.
  • In the Black and Caspian seas, the beluga have been known to reach 16 feet in length.
  • More than 12,000 tons of sturgeon are caught every year in the Black and Caspian seas.

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