Where to Find on Campus: Main Channel, Mississippi River Center

The Museum & Aquarium features two species of sturgeon, the Shovelnose Sturgeon and the Lake Sturgeon. The sturgeons we have in the main channel have been living in the exhibit since around 2005 and are a favorite with our aquarium staff divers. They tend to be very sociable and curious about the divers in the tank and often come over for a quick “swim by” back rub!

Diet: These bottom feeders have four sensory barbels that aid in finding insect larvae, small mollusks, and other bottom-dwelling organisms to eat.

Lifespan: Lake Sturgeon are extremely long-lived; males may live up to 55 years and females have the potential of reaching 150! Shovelnose sturgeon can live up to 70 years in captivity and 30 in the wild.

Size: A smaller species of sturgeon, the Shovelnose Sturgeon, rarely exceeds five pounds and 28 inches in length. Lake Sturgeon can reach an impressive six feet in length and weigh nearly 200 pounds. 

Conservation Story

In the early days of commercial fishing along the Mississippi River, sturgeon were harvested principally for their eggs, which were prepared as caviar. Although large females can produce about 50,000 eggs, they don’t spawn yearly; surviving offspring are long-lived but slow growing. The current status of Lake Sturgeon is considered to be severely depressed from historical abundance levels. However, population trends are increasing. As for the Shovelnose Sturgeon, although not federally listed, the IUCN red list has them listed as vulnerable.

Some information referenced on this page came from Animal Diversity Web. https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Acipenser_fulvescens/