Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Acipenser brevirostrum, Shortnose Sturgeon

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout conical, short, rounded
top bucklers widely spaced
any bucklers behind D & A in 1 row
A 19-22

Acipenser brevirostrum Lesueur, 1818

Shortnose Sturgeon

Body heavy, elongate, nearly cylindrical; head ends in a hard, elongate, conical snout that is relatively short and blunt, rounded when viewed from below, length before mouth ~ width of mouth; a small spiracle behind eye; mouth underneath, protrusible, with 4 conspicuous, short barbells before it, those without fringes; gill rakers elongate and pointed; one dorsal fin, well back near tail base; tail fin deeply forked, upper lobe (with a fleshy extension of the tail base) much longer than lower; anal fin 19-22; tail base short compressed, only partly covered with bony plates; pectorals low, pelvics at rear under abdomen; fins without spines; body with five rows of bony plates, one row along midback, one along midside, another along lower side; bony plates along top of back widely spaced (up to ½ length of plates), usually no plates on top of tail base behind dorsal fin, in a single row on side of tail base behind anal fin; 7-13 dorsal shields, 22-34 lateral shields.

Color light to dark brown, black to bluey black.

Reaches 143 cm.

Mainly in rivers but occasionally enters brackish and salt water.

Depth range: 1-25 m.

Canada to Florida.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Vulnerable
  • Appendix I
  • Listed
Length Max
  • 143
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 25