Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin
Paddlefish family - polyodontidae, pp. 231-237 ff. PDF (2.7 MB)
Paddlefish Family Polyodontidae In 1792 Walbaum described the American paddlefish as a new shark species, and in 1820 Rafinesque wrote an extensive description of it as an "entirely new shark genus." Sharks, however, are cartilaginous fishes (Chondrichthyes), while the paddlefish belongs to that group of fishes known as the bony fishes (Osteichthyes). The paddlefish, Polyodon spa- thula, is a smooth-skinned, bizarre-looking creature, with a long paddle- like snout and a tail with an elongated dorsal lobe. Only one other species is known from this family: the Chinese stur- geon, Psephurus gladius, which inhabits the Yangtze-Kiang River in the Chinese lowlands and feeds on other fishes, whereas the American pad- dlefish feeds on plankton. 231
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