Endangered Florida Fish

 

 

Gulf Sturgeon
Gulf Sturgeon
Photo credit: USFWS

 

Sturgeon

 

 

Gulf Sturgeon
Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi

 

Please see this Wordpress Blog posting for an important update about this fish:

A Sturgeon Warning

 

 

To begin: what is a Fish?

A fish is an aquatic vertebrate (has a backbone)

that is cold blooded, has fins, breathes through gills

and may be covered with scales.


The primeval Gulf Sturgeon, whose ancestral

beginnings are older than Dinosaurs,

may date back as much as 200 million years,

or about the same time as Sharks.

Gulf Sturgeon
Gulf Sturgeon
Photo credit: Gabby Saluta USFWS

 

One looking at this remarkable fish would be

reminded of the Alligator Snapping Turtle

which also has a primordial appearance.

The Sturgeon body is covered with bony plates,

instead of the usual scales of modern fish species,

just one of several physical features

that sets this fish apart from others.

Gulf Sturgeon
Gulf Sturgeon
Photo credit: Noel Burkhead

 

Weighing up to 200 pounds and reaching as much

as eight feet in length, the Gulf Sturgeon

lives up to 25-30 years.

Sturgeon are bottom dwellers whose diet

consists mainly of insects and mollusks.

 

It was listed as a Threatened Species in 1991

and has been off the take shelf for many years.

 

This Sturgeon is anadromous, which means that it

lives in two worlds, freshwater and seawater and

like the Salmon, it goes home to spawn.

Dams blocking the Sturgeon's access to spawning

areas have been a key factor in their decline.

When it leaves the Gulf waters and returns home to spawn,

home for the Gulf Sturgeon is the beautiful and boat

popular Suwannee River Area in the Florida Panhandle.

Gulf Sturgeon jumping on the Suwannee
Gulf Sturgeon jumping on the Suwannee
Photo credit: Tim Ross

 

Each summer, they can be seen on the River jumping

as much as six feet in the air and occasionally,

some boaters have been injured in these displays.

Suwannee River Sturgeon Warning Sign
Photo credit: Donald Monroe @ SRWMD
Sign courtesy: FFWCC

 

A firm reason for this jumping display is a continued

debate among the scientists who study them.

 


Places to learn more:

Earth Justice

Critical Habitat Proposed

 

Environment News Service

Endangered Sturgeon Returning to Suwannee River

 

FFWS

Facts about Gulf Sturgeon

 

Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

A Comparison of Three Sturgeon Species

 

Live Science

Save this Ugly Fish

 

National Geographic

Attacks Over for Now

Giant Jumping Sturgeon

Jumping Sturgeon

 

Science Daily

Endangered Billfish

 

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Decline in Florida's Reef Fish

 

UFNHM

Gulf Sturgeon

 

USFWS

Sturgeon

 

USGS

Sturgeon

 


 

Walking with the Alligators

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Last edited April 8, 2018

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