Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) Pallid sturgeon live in the Missouri, Mississippi and Lower Yellowstone rivers. Sturgeons evolved during the Paleozoic Era and are well adapted to fast flowing, muddy water.
In a nationwide effort to protect declining populations of the federally endangered pallid sturgeon, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) ruled in early October 2010 that shovelnose sturgeon must be treated as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act because of their similarity in appearance to the pallid sturgeon.
This lake sturgeon was raised at MDC’s Lost Valley Fish Hatchery near Warsaw before it became one of 12,000 released in September 2012 into rivers feeding the Missouri River. This six-inch youngster can potentially live 150 years and grow to eight feet long and more than 300 pounds. Young fish like this have black and brown mottled color. Adults turn chocolate brown or tan.
The largest of Missouri’s three sturgeons is rare and endangered in our state. One way to identify it is by its conical (not shovel-nosed) snout. And despite its name, in our state this fish is almost always found in big rivers—not lakes.
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