From Xplor for Kids
October 2014 Issue

Wild Jobs: Sturgeon Surgeon Travis Moore

Publish Date

Oct 01, 2014

Sturgeon Surgeon Travis Moore equips slippery patients with high-tech tracking devices.

Q: What’s a lake sturgeon?

A: Lake sturgeons are Missouri’s largest and longest-living fish. They can weigh more than 200 pounds and live more than 100 years. They have whiskers, rubbery snouts, and toothless, tube-shaped mouths that they use to suck insects off the bottom of big rivers.

Q: How do you operate on a sturgeon?

A: We place the sturgeon on its back, strap it down, and put a hose in its mouth to pump water over its gills. I use a scalpel to make a tiny cut in the fish’s belly so I can put a transmitter inside. Then I stitch the sturgeon up. The whole thing takes less than 5 minutes.

Q: Does it hurt the fish?

A: Nope. We’ve re-caught fish that we operated on earlier. You can’t even see a scar where we put in the transmitter.

Q: What do the transmitters do?

A: Each transmitter puts out a unique pattern of beeps. We use underwater microphones to listen for the beeps so we can find and follow individual sturgeons. It’s like playing high-tech hide-and-seek with a bunch of great big fish.

Q: Why do you track sturgeons?

A: In the 1800s, lake sturgeons nearly disappeared from Missouri because of habitat loss, pollution, and unregulated fishing. We want to learn where sturgeons hang out, where they lay eggs, and where they travel. That way, we can protect those places and provide more places like them.

Also in this issue

You Discover

With birds flying south, leaves changing color, and hunting seasons gearing up, there’s plenty to discover in October and November. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Predator vs. Prey: Loggerhead Shrike vs. Northern Fence Lizard

The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight. Here's what separates nature's winners from its losers.

How To: Shoot Straight

To be a good hunter, you must be a straight shooter. Once your rifle has been sighted in, follow these tips to get better at hitting the bull’s-eye.


Make no bones about it, you can learn a skeleton about an animal by examining its skull.

Spook-Tacular Spiders

It’s creepy. It’s crawly. It lives in the shadows and spins webs in impossible places. Then it waits…

Strange But True

Your guide to all the unusual, unique, and unbelievable stuff that goes on in nature.

This Issue's Staff:

Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White

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