Ancestors of the American paddlefish lived in modern day North America about 125 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period, when some dinosaurs still roamed the Earth.
Paddlefish inhabit slow-moving, large, deep, freshwater rivers and reservoirs. They only eat plankton, which are microscopic plants and animals. They eat by simply swimming around with their mouth open.
Paddlefish can grow up to 7 feet long.
Paddlefish can be distinguished from all other North American freshwater fishes by the presence of a large, paddle-shaped rostrum (up to 1/3 total body length) on the snout anterior to the mouth.
Paddlefish can weigh almost 200 pounds.
The overall color of a paddlefish is bluish gray to blackish on the back, grading to white on its belly.
Paddlefish can also live for a long time. Some reports say some specimens have lived for 50 years or longer.
When paddlefish are ready to reproduce, they can migrate hundreds of miles before spawning.
Spawning occurs in late spring at times of high water; eggs are deposited on silt-free gravel bars where, during regular water levels, they would be exposed to air or are covered by very shallow water. The eggs hatch and the larval fish are swept downstream to deeper pools where they grow to adulthood.
Explore the information available for this taxon's timeline. You can select an event on the timeline to view more information, or cycle through the content available in the carousel below.8 Items