Pallid sturgeons are native to the muddy floors of the Missouri and Mississippi river basins, ranging from northern Montana to the Gulf of Mexico.
Growing up to 60 inches long and weighing as much as 80 pounds, these fish are among the largest freshwater fish in North America. They are also among the oldest—ancestors of the pallid sturgeon swam alongside the dinosaurs 70 million years ago! Pallid sturgeon can live to be almost 100 years old.
They have poor eyesight and no teeth, so pallid sturgeons have a special way to find and eat food. They first use their barbels to search for food, and then use their flat snouts to uncover what they found on the river floor. They eat by sucking up fish, mollusks and insects through their tube-shaped mouths.
Pallid sturgeons are currently listed as endangered, and loss of habitat is commonly cited as the main reason for their population decline. To prevent them from going extinct, young pallid sturgeons are being grown in hatcheries and released into the wild. They are then closely monitored to help scientists study and better understand this important fish!
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