Gulf Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi)

Gulf Sturgeon
Scientific name:Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi

The gulf sturgeon grows longer than six feet. It has no internal skeleton; instead, its backbone is cartilaginous (like the sharks) as are the external scutes on its head and top portion of the body. Its snout has four tactile barbels on the chin in front of the mouth. These barbels are used to look for prey. The fish doesn’t have any teeth, thus it sucks its food like a vacuum. Its caudal fin is not symmetrical, with the upper lobe longer than the lower lobe. The gulf sturgeon is usually light brown to dark brown,

Sturgeon are anadromous, which means that they live part of their lives in salt water, but swim to freshwaters to spawn. Each year, they return to the same stream where they hatched. These fish move from salt to fresh water between February and April, and move downriver between September and November. In winter, in sandy-bottoms habitats, they feed on marine worms, grass shrimps, crabs, and other organisms. They feed only a few while in fresh water rivers.

Florida locations:
These fish can be found in Tampa Bay, Suwannee River, and Florida Bay. However, historical data show a reduction in populations of the gulf sturgeon.