Panama City Ecological Services / Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office
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Gulf Sturgeon
  Tagging sturgeon
Photos by Paul Lang
   

 

 


Gulf Sturgeon

 

 

A “Living Dinosaur,” that’s the Gulf sturgeon! The Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi) traces its ancestry back 200 million years and little has changed with the appearance of this fish since. This prehistoric fish reaches lengths of up to nine feet can weigh up to 300 pounds. It is well armored with rows of heavy plates that make it look menacing, but it is actually not an aggressive species, preferring to linger near the bottom of riverbeds and oceans. With a tail like a shark, whiskers like a catfish, and a tube-like mouth that projects from the bottom of its head…the sturgeon has been called both ugly and yet beautiful.

The Gulf sturgeon lives in the northern Gulf of Mexico, bays, estuaries and in major rivers in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The gulf sturgeon spends most of the year in freshwater, where it reproduces, and migrates to saltwater in the fall. Adult fish are bottom feeders, feeding primarily on invertebrates in the Gulf of Mexico and its estuaries. In early spring, the gulf sturgeon return to breed in the river system in which they hatched.

The Gulf sturgeon is listed as a threatened species by the federal government and a species of special concern by the state of Florida. Recreational and commercial fishing is prohibited by the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

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Last updated: September 15, 2014