Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) are widely distributed throughout the Missouri and Mississippi river basins, and they are rheophilic and potamadrous. Pallid Sturgeon have historically spawned in the Missouri, Mississippi, and Yellowstone Rivers. The spawning periodicity of females appears to be 2-3 years as determined by recaptured wild females with the majority of females having a 2-year cycle. The spawning periodicity of male pallid sturgeon appears to be 1-3 years. Hatchery-reared male and female Pallid Sturgeon released in the lower Missouri River were first documented in spawning condition at 9-14 years of age. In the upper Missouri River, hatchery-reared Pallid Sturgeon reached sexual maturity at 10 and 18 years for males and females, respectively, while captive fish reached sexual maturity at 4 and 9 years of age for males and females, respectively.
Little is known about the feeding habits of Pallid Sturgeon. In a hatchery environment, exogenously feeding fry will feed on brine shrimp suggesting that zooplankton and/or small invertebrates may be important prey during the early life stages. Pallid Sturgeon shift to eating other fish as body size increases. The species was listed as a federally endangered species under the ESA in 1990 due to habitat alteration/fragmentation, illegal harvest, hybridization, and changes in water quality/quantity.
Photo Credit: Christopher Guy