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Fish ID – Sturgeon

Lake Sturgeon

Acipenser fulvescens
Also known as: sturgeon

Description: Primitive fish having several rows of thorny scales or plates and 4 barbels near its mouth, which is located far back under the short, cone-shaped snout. Barbels are not fringed and lower lip has 2 lobes. Threatened species, illegal to possess – rarest of Nebraska’s sturgeons. Feeds by dragging its sensitive barbels along the bottom and using its protrusible mouth to suck up bottom materials from which snails, small clams, aquatic insect larvae, and crayfish are selectively removed. No documented natural reproduction in our stretch of the Missouri River. The state of Missouri does some stocking to bolster the population.

Family: Sturgeon
Type: Threatened Fish
Range: Missouri River.

LakeSturgeon

Pallid Sturgeon

Scaphirhynchus albus
Also known as: sturgeon

Description: Primitive fish having several rows of thorny scales or plates and 4 barbels near its mouth which is located far back under the long, pointed snout. Barbels are fringed and lower lip has 4 lobes. Bases of outer barbels usually behind bases of inner barbels and belly without plates. Endangered species, illegal to possess. Feeding habits similar to lake sturgeon; however, diet primarily consists of aquatic invertebrates (primarily aquatic insects) and small fish (mostly minnows). Natural reproduction has been documented in our stretch of the Missouri River. Some stockings have been done to bolster the population.
Note: Report suspected captures to AkSarBen Aquarium at (402) 332-3901.

Family: Sturgeon
Type: Endangered Fish
Range: Missouri River, lower portions of the Platte and Elkhorn Rivers.

PallidSturgeon

Shovelnose Sturgeon

Scaphirhynchus platorynchus
Also known as: sturgeon

Description: Primitive fish having several rows of thorny scales or plates and 4 barbels near its mouth which is located far back under the flattened, shovel-shaped snout. Barbels are fringed and lower lip has 4 lobes. Bases of outer barbels in line with or ahead of bases of inner barbels and belly is covered with small plates (except in young). In Nebraska, if a sturgeon weighs more than four pounds, it most likely is a pallid sturgeon. It is our most abundant sturgeon and is often caught by anglers. It feeds on the bottom, utilizing its barbels to locate food and protrusible mouth to suck up food items. Larvae of aquatic insects (primarily mayflies, true flies (Diptera), and caddisflies) make up the bulk of its diet.

Family: Sturgeon
Type: Sport Fish
Range: Missouri River and lower portions of major tributary streams/rivers.

ShovelnoseSturgeon