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Creature Feature: Gulf Sturgeon

Creature Feature: Gulf Sturgeon

A threatened species, the Gulf sturgeon is an ancient fish that grows up to eight feet long and weighs up to 300 pounds! Once living with the dinosaurs, these aquatic creatures have scutes (large protective plates) on their backs like an alligator. Possessing no teeth, they swim along the bottom vacuuming up food consisting of crabs, grass shrimp and marine worms. Sturgeons inhabit river systems in the Panhandle east to and including the Suwannee River. Boaters need to be on the look-out for them, especially during spring and summer, as they can leap up to nine feet into the air. Able to live more than 40 years, these fish do not produce eggs until approximately eight years of age. They live part time in the salty Gulf of Mexico, then swim to freshwater rivers to lay eggs. Dams on some rivers have stopped the sturgeons being able to get where they want to go and dredging of rivers can take away their food supply.

Thanks for caring about Florida’s wildlife! 

Photo by Noel Burkhead/USGS

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