American Oceans

15 Types of Sturgeon: Fish Species That Have Survived for Millions of Years

Sturgeon are an ancient group of fish that have been swimming in the world’s seas and rivers for over 250 million years.

Sturgeons swims underwater

They are known for their distinctive elongated bodies, bony plates, and large size, with some species growing up to 20 feet long and weighing over a ton.

In addition to their impressive size, sturgeon are also famous for their delicious roe, which is made into the luxurious delicacy known as caviar.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at 15 types of sturgeon, their physical appearance, habits, and some fascinating facts.

What Are Sturgeon?

Sturgeon are a group of fish that belong to the family Acipenseridae.

sturgeon fish

There are 27 species of sturgeon, found in rivers and seas throughout the world, although many are now critically endangered.

Sturgeon are typically characterized by their long, cylindrical bodies covered in bony plates known as scutes, which provide protection from predators. They have a primitive, cartilaginous skeleton and lack true scales.

Sturgeon are also known for their long lifespan, with some individuals living for over 100 years. Some species of sturgeon, such as the Beluga sturgeon, are prized for their caviar, which can fetch high prices on the luxury food market.

Atlantic Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Acipenser oxyrinchus
Other Names: Common sturgeon, New York sturgeon
Size: Up to 14 feet long and weighing up to 800 pounds
Distribution: Found along the eastern coast of North America, from Canada to Florida.

Atlantic sturgeon

The Atlantic sturgeon is one of the largest sturgeon species and can be found in the Atlantic Ocean and its connected rivers. It has a long, streamlined body covered in five rows of bony plates and a pointed snout.

The Atlantic sturgeon is anadromous, meaning it migrates from saltwater to freshwater to spawn. The species was once commercially fished for its meat and roe, but is now critically endangered.

Beluga Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Huso huso
Other Names: Great sturgeon, European sturgeon
Size: Up to 20 feet long and weighing up to 2,500 pounds
Distribution: Found in the Caspian and Black Sea basins

The beluga or European sturgeon

The Beluga sturgeon is the largest species of sturgeon and one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. It has a long, cylindrical body covered in small, irregularly shaped bony plates and a distinctive upturned snout.

The Beluga sturgeon is also known for its valuable caviar, which is considered a luxury food item. The species is critically endangered due to overfishing and habitat loss.

Lake Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Acipenser fulvescens
Other Names: Rock sturgeon, common sturgeon
Size: Up to 7 feet long and weighing up to 300 pounds
Distribution: Found in the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River system.

Lake Sturgeon

The Lake sturgeon is a large freshwater fish that can be found in the Great Lakes and surrounding rivers.

It has a long, torpedo-shaped body covered in five rows of bony plates and a pointed snout. The Lake sturgeon is a bottom-dwelling fish that feeds on a variety of aquatic invertebrates and small fish.

It is a popular game fish and is also used for its meat and roe.

White Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Acipenser transmontanus
Other Names: Pacific sturgeon
Size: Up to 20 feet long and weighing up to 1,800 pounds
Distribution: Found on the west coast of North America, from Mexico to Alaska

white sturgeon

The White sturgeon is the largest freshwater fish in North America and can be found in the rivers and estuaries of the western United States and Canada.

It has a long, torpedo-shaped body covered in five rows of bony plates and a flattened snout. The

White sturgeon is a bottom-dwelling fish that feeds on a variety of aquatic invertebrates and small fish. It is also a valuable commercial species, prized for its meat and roe.

Shortnose Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Acipenser brevirostrum
Other Names: Eastern sturgeon, Connecticut River sturgeon
Size: Up to 4 feet long and weighing up to 50 pounds
Distribution: Found along the eastern coast of North America, from New Brunswick to Florida

Shortnose Sturgeon

The Shortnose sturgeon is a small, bottom-dwelling fish that can be found in the rivers and estuaries of the eastern United States.

It has a short, blunt snout and a streamlined body covered in five rows of bony plates. The Shortnose sturgeon is anadromous, meaning it migrates from saltwater to freshwater to spawn.

The species is listed as endangered due to overfishing and habitat loss.

Green Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Acipenser medirostris
Other Names: Southern sturgeon
Size: Up to 7 feet long and weighing up to 350 pounds
Distribution: Found along the west coast of North America, from Mexico to Alaska

Green Sturgeon
Fish sturgeon swims in the aquarium of the oceanarium. Sturgeon fish

The Green sturgeon is a large, bottom-dwelling fish that can be found in the rivers and estuaries of the western United States and Canada.

It has a long, streamlined body covered in five rows of bony plates and a flattened snout. The Green sturgeon is anadromous, meaning it migrates from saltwater to freshwater to spawn.

The species is listed as threatened due to overfishing and habitat loss.

Starry Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Acipenser stellatus
Other Names: Stellate sturgeon, sevruga
Size: Up to 7 feet long and weighing up to 200 pounds
Distribution: Found in the Caspian and Black Sea basins

The Starry sturgeon is a medium-sized sturgeon species that can be found in the Caspian and Black Sea basins.

It has a long, cylindrical body covered in five rows of bony plates and a pointed snout. The Starry sturgeon is also known for its caviar, which is considered a luxury food item. The species is listed as endangered due to overfishing and habitat loss.

Kaluga Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Huso dauricus
Other Names: River beluga, Amur sturgeon
Size: Up to 18 feet long and weighing up to 2,200 pounds
Distribution: Found in the Amur River basin

Kaluga Sturgeon
Freshwater fish kaluga ( Huso dauricus ) in the aquarium. Amur river endemic.

The Kaluga sturgeon is a large freshwater fish that can be found in the Amur River basin in Russia and China.

It has a long, cylindrical body covered in small, irregularly shaped bony plates and a pointed snout. The Kaluga sturgeon is also known for its valuable caviar, which is considered a luxury food item.

The species is critically endangered due to overfishing and habitat loss.

Russian Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Acipenser gueldenstaedtii
Other Names: Diamond sturgeon
Size: Up to 7 feet long and weighing up to 200 pounds
Distribution: Found in the Caspian and Black Sea basins

Russian sturgeon
The Russian sturgeon, diamond sturgeon or Danube sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii).

The Russian sturgeon is a medium-sized sturgeon species that can be found in the Caspian and Black Sea basins.

It has along, streamlined body covered in five rows of bony plates and a pointed snout. The Russian sturgeon is also known for its caviar, which is considered a luxury food item.

The species is listed as endangered due to overfishing and habitat loss.

Shovelnose Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Scaphirhynchus platorynchus
Other Names: Mississippi shovelnose, spoonbill
Size: Up to 3 feet long and weighing up to 15 pounds
Distribution: Found in the Mississippi River and its tributaries

The Shovelnose sturgeon is a small, bottom-dwelling fish that can be found in the Mississippi River and its tributaries. It has a long, slender body covered in bony plates and a shovel-shaped snout. The Shovelnose sturgeon is not typically used for its meat or roe, but is sometimes caught for sport.

Chinese Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Acipenser sinensis
Other Names: Amur sturgeon, Heilongjiang sturgeon
Size: Up to 10 feet long and weighing up to 500 pounds
Distribution: Found in the Yangtze River and its tributaries

The Chinese sturgeon is a large freshwater fish that can be found in the Yangtze River and its tributaries in China.

It has a long, cylindrical body covered in five rows of bony plates and a pointed snout. The Chinese sturgeon is also known for its valuable caviar, which is considered a luxury food item.

The species is critically endangered due to overfishing and habitat loss.

Alabama Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Scaphirhynchus suttkusi
Other Names: None
Size: Up to 3 feet long and weighing up to 8 pounds
Distribution: Found in the Mobile River basin in Alabama

The Alabama sturgeon is a small, bottom-dwelling fish that is only found in the Mobile River basin in Alabama.

It has a long, slender body covered in bony plates and a pointed snout. The Alabama sturgeon is listed as critically endangered due to overfishing, habitat loss, and pollution.

Japanese Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Acipenser japonicus
Other Names: None
Size: Up to 6 feet long and weighing up to 150 pounds
Distribution: Found in the Sea of Japan and its connected rivers

The Japanese sturgeon is a medium-sized sturgeon species that can be found in the Sea of Japan and its connected rivers. It has a long, streamlined body covered in five rows of bony plates and a pointed snout.

The Japanese sturgeon is also known for its caviar, which is considered a luxury food item. The species is listed as critically endangered due to overfishing and habitat loss.

Sterlet Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Acipenser ruthenus
Other Names: None
Size: Up to 3 feet long and weighing up to 20 pounds
Distribution: Found in the Danube River and its tributaries

Sterlet Sturgeon

The Sterlet sturgeon is a small freshwater fish that can be found in the Danube River and its tributaries in Europe.

It has a long, cylindrical body covered in five rows of bony plates and a pointed snout. The Sterlet sturgeon is sometimes used for its meat and is also considered a sport fish.

Siberian Sturgeon

Scientific Name: Acipenser baerii
Other Names: Baerii sturgeon
Size: Up to 7 feet long and weighing up to 400 pounds
Distribution: Found in the rivers and lakes of Siberia

The Siberian sturgeon is a large freshwater fish that can be found in the rivers and lakes of Siberia. It has a long, streamlined body covered in five rows of bony plates and a pointed snout.

The Siberian sturgeon is also known for its valuable caviar, which is considered a luxury food item. The species is listed as vulnerable due to overfishing and habitat loss.

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