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Shovelnose Sturgeon - Identification

Description: The shovelnose sturgeon is similar to the lake sturgeon in that its body is angular (5 sided) and torpedo-shaped with 5 rows of bony plates (called scutes): 14-19 dorsal plates, 38-47 lateral, 10-14 ventrolateral. However, the shovelnose sturgeon's body is much more elongated. Adult fork length (tip of snout to fork in tail) is about 635 mm (25 in). The snout is long and very spade-like. Unlike the lake sturgeon, there is no spiracle. The caudal peduncle (area in front of the tail) is slender, depressed, and completely encased in bony plates. Lower lip with 4 lobes. Barbels strongly fringed. The tail is heterocercal with the upper lobe of the tail fin is elongated into a threadlike extension (often broken off).

Color: Adults are olive to yellowish-brown above, sides lighter, and white below.

Shovelnose Sturgeon Identification
Contact information
For more information, please contact:
Karl Scheidegger
Fisheries biologist
Last revised: Friday August 31 2012