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New Jersey freshwater fish identification

Sturgeons

Family Acipenseridae

Sturgeons are very large and ancient fish with a cartilaginous (clear and flexible) skeleton, and a spiral valve

(a fold of tissue twisting along the wall of the intestine). They are commercially important for their ripe eggs

called caviar. Sturgeon populations have been badly depleted in the United States because of overharvesting,

pollution and the adverse effect of dams. It is illegal to take any sturgeon in New Jersey.


Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus) grow to 14 feet in length and have a long, sharply V-shaped

snout that has an upturned tip in young. They have rows of hard scutes (plates). They are blue-black above,

paler on the sides and white below with gray to blue-black fins. They have a white leading edge on the lower

lobe of the caudal fin, the paired fins and the anal fin. They have white spines on the back scutes.

Shortnose Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) grow to 43 inches and have a short V-shaped snout. They

have rows of lighter colored hard scutes along their dark brown to yellow body. Young have dark brown or

dusky black blotches on the snout and body. The shortnose sturgeon is an endangered species.


questions about fish terminology? GO TO: FISH BODY CHARTS

GO TO NJ FRESHWATER FISH ID MAIN PAGE

GO TO NJ COMMON FRESHWATER FISH PAGE

GO TO NJ UNCOMMON FRESHWATER FISH PAGE

By Joe M. Cianci. See main page for list of sources. Send E mail to me at joecianci@comcast.net Comments welcome!

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04/11/99