Recreation and Park District
Sturgeon are recognizable for their elongated bodies, flattened rostra, distinctive scutes and barbels, and elongated upper tail lobes.
They are unique among bony fishes because their skeletons are almost entirely cartilaginous. They also lack vertebral centra, and are partially covered with five lateral rows of scutes rather than scales. They have four barbels that precede their wide, toothless mouths.
They navigate their habitats by traveling just off the bottom with their barbels dragging along the bottom, or murky substrate. Their projecting wedge-shaped snout stirs up the soft bottom, and they use the barbels to detect shells, crustaceans and small fish on which they feed. Having no teeth, they are unable to seize prey, though larger specimens can swallow very large prey including whole salmon.