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Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin

Sturgeon family - acipenseridae,   pp. 219-230 PDF (5.9 MB)

Page 219

Sturgeon Family- 
  Two species of sturgeons in two genera are known from Wisconsin. In 
the United States and Canada, seven species in two genera are known 
(Robins et al. 1980). Of these, four (two on each coast) are marine spe-
cies which spawn in fresh water. 
  Sturgeons are elongated fishes with an extended, hard snout and a 
ventral protrusible mouth preceded by four barbels. Prominent, bony 
scutes are arranged in five rows-one dorsal, two lateral, and two latero-
ventral. The tail is heterocercal (sharklike), with vertebrae extending into
a much-elongated dorsal lobe. 
  In the same order is an extinct fossil family Chondrosteidae, known 
from the Lower Jurassic to the Lower Cretaceous. Acipenser is known 
from the Upper Cretaceous to Recent. 
  Sturgeons are among the important commercial fishes of the world. 
The meat is delicious and the eggs, converted into caviar, are in great 
demand. Unfortunately the worldwide stocks of sturgeons are dwin- 
dling because of dams, pollution, and exploitation. Many species are 
slow-growing and are easily exploited. 
  Priegel and Wirth (1971) reported that an occasional pallid sturgeon 
(Scaphirhynchus albus) occurs in the Wisconsin-Iowa boundary water of 
the Mississippi River. It has a lighter color, no scalelike plates on the
belly, and the length of inner barbels into head length is more than 6. 
This species ranges in the Missouri and lower Mississippi rivers (P. W, 
Smith et al. 1971). An old report for Keokuk, Iowa (Coker 1930), is not 
accepted. I do not view this species as occurring in Wisconsin but ac- 
knowledge the possibility that it may, and it should be watched for. 

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