Lake Sturgeon

(Acipenser fulvescens)




Facts about this animal

The Lake Sturgeon is one of the largest North American fish to spend its entire life in fresh water. Lake Sturgeon feed primarily on molluscs, crustaceans, insect larvae, and small fish.


While once abundant from Ontario south to Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama and east to the Appalachian Mountains; populations have been diminished due to habitat alteration, pollution, and the caviar industry. Sexual maturity is not reached until at least 12-15 years for males and 14-25 years of age for females. Males can reproduce every year or every other year. Females have a more prolonged spawning periodicity of 4-9 years.


A single large female can produce over 3 million eggs in a single spawn with more typical fecundity of 50,000-700,000 eggs.


The oldest recorded Lake Sturgeon was believed to have reached 154 years of age.

Did you know?
Relatives of the Lake Sturgeon been around since the time of the dinosaurs - recognizable sturgeon fossils date to the Cretaceous period. The oldest recorded Lake Sturgeon was estimated to be 154 years old. Lake Sturgeon get big- up to 136 kg (300 lb.) in weight and 8 feet long.


Name (Scientific) Acipenser fulvescens
Name (English) Lake Sturgeon
Name (French) Esturgeon de lac
Name (German) Seestör, Roter Stör
Name (Spanish) Esturión lacustre
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Brian F Jorg



Range United States, Canada
Habitat Lakes, rivers, and reservoirs of the Mississippi River, Hudson Bay, and Great Lakes drainages, as well as a restricted distribution in the Mobile Basin
Wild population Populations stable in some northern parts of native range; in other areas populations suffered significant decrease due to habitat alteration, construction of dams and other impediments, over-fishing, and pollution.
Zoo population Unknown- Found in zoos and aquaria in the U.S. and Canada.

In the Zoo

Lake Sturgeon


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 52 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed. Fish must be unpacked carefully and under low illumination.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Brian F Jorg

Why do zoos keep this animal

Zoos keep the lake sturgeon because it is a large and unusual looking fish that captures the interest of zoo patrons. Its prehistoric looks and origins also tell an interesting story of survival and perseverance of a species which can be contrasted with current conditions that have led to the Lake Sturgeon’s diminished population size.