Language English The Gulf of St. Lawrence Photo: Biodôme Photo: Biodôme Photo: Biodôme Photo: Biodôme OngletsDescriptionDistinguishing featuresThe Atlantic sturgeon has a long, pointed, upturned snout, with four barbels in front of the mouth, on the underside. It has five rows of bony plates on the back and sides. The dorsal lobe of its caudal fin is longer than the ventral lobe. The skeleton of this bony fish is largely cartilaginous. ReproductionThe fish spawns in pools at the foot of rapids and waterfalls, in fresh water. It is an anadromous species, which returns to salt water after spawning. The female lays a huge number of eggs, from 800,000 to 2,400,000. Its ovaries may account for as much as one-third of its body weight. DietAtlantic sturgeon feed on molluscs, worms, shrimp and other shellfish, and on fish such as sand lances. They root for food on the bottom with their toothless ventral mouths, using their barbels equipped with taste buds, and their pointed snouts. PredatorsThe Atlantic Sturgeon don't have many known naturals predators. Sometime lamprey eel, a blood eating fish, fixe themself in large numbers on the body of an Atlantic sturgeon. This might be sufficient to kill the unfortunate victim. HabitatThey are bottom-dwellers and bottom-feeders. Atlantic sturgeon spend their adult life in salt water, along the Atlantic coast, and in the St. Lawrence Estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Ecology, behaviourThe Atlantic sturgeon is an anadromous fish, which spawns in rivers. The young remain in fresh water for four years before migrating to the sea. It seems that its former spawning grounds on the St. Lawrence have not been used since the 1950s or 1960, perhaps because of the damming of some rivers, overfishing, the dredging of the Seaway and the construction work for Expo 67. French nameEsturgeon noir Scientific nameAcipenser oxyrinchusPhylumChordataClassOsteichthyes (bony fish)OrderAcipenseriformesFamilyAcipenseridaeSizeLength: generally up to 3 m; maximum length: 4.3 mWeight150 to 200 kg; maximum: 368 kgLife span60 years or moreStatusLow risk / new threatened (Cites 1996); Near threatened (IUCN - 2006), Likely to be designated (MRNF, MDDEP).