September 29 2018 11:00:00 GMT-0500 to the fest
Meet Sturgill the Sturgeon
Sturgill is one of our sturgeon in the Milwaukee river. Scroll down to explore Sturgill‘s lifespan and learn more about him and his brothers and sisters.
Keep an eye on Sturgill‘s age and length as you scroll and you can learn more about how big these amazing relics of the dinosaur age can get!
Some females will travel hundreds of miles to find the shallow, rushing water their eggs will need to survive!
The odds are not ever in a young sturgeon’s favor. In its lifetime, a single female sturgeon can produce up to half a million eggs, but only a handful will survive into adulthood (mom and dad provide no protection or nest for the eggs once laid).
Two of the twenty-seven species can be found in Wisconsin: the lake and shovelnose sturgeon.
A prehistoric species, sturgeons have changed little from the time they were swimming with dinosaurs. Individuals can change quite significantly in a lifetime, however. The young have long, pointed snouts that gradually transform into rounded, short heads on adult sturgeon.
The largest lake sturgeon ever caught in the United States weighed 240 pounds and was believed to be over 125 years old!
While sturgeon have lived hundreds of millions of years and outlasted many species, the rise of one, humans, has had detrimental effects on their numbers. Pollution, overfishing, and over harvesting caviar have led almost all species to be threatened or endangered.
Those whisker looking parts under the mouth? They are called barbels and are used to detect food!
No corn on the cob for this species. Sturgeon have no teeth and were one of the very first fish species to develop a “suction” type of eating- they are bottom dwellers who suck up food around them and “spit” out anything inedible through their gills.
Taking their time: female sturgeons don’t spawn until they are about 25 years old.
Sturgeon spawning definitely focuses much more on quantity than quality. One female can lay up to 700,000 eggs, but usually only about one in 50,000 of them will ultimately survive.
All twenty seven worldwide species of sturgeon live in the Northern Hemisphere!
Lake sturgeon are freshwater fish, preferring rivers and the edges of lakes shallow enough for them to feed. As “benthivores” (bottom feeders) their diet largely consists of small invertebrates like snails, leeches, and crayfish.
Lake sturgeon are one of only three sturgeon species that live exclusively in freshwater.
Talk about flying fish! All sturgeon have the ability to leap into the air, and scientists still aren’t’ sure why they do it.