FAO Home>Fisheries & Aquaculture
FAO of the UN
Acipenser fulvescens:   (click for more)

See tree map  display tree map
  • Acipenser rubicundus  Lesueur, 1818: 388, Pl. 12.
  • Acipenser ohiensis  Rafinesque, 1820:248.
  • Acipenser macrostomus  Rafinesque, 1820:249.
  • Acipenser serotimus  Rafinesque, 1820:248.
  • Acipenser rupertianus  Richardson, 1836:311, Pl. 97.
  • Acipenser laevis  Agassiz, 1850:267.
  • Acipenser (Antaceus) buffalo  Duméril, 1867: 175, Pl. 14.
  • Acipenser (Huso) anasimos  Duméril, 1870: 122.
  • Acipenser liopeltis  Günther, 1870:341.
    FAO Names
    En - Lake sturgeon, Fr - , Sp - .
    3Alpha Code: AAF     Taxonomic Code: 1170100107
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Acipenser fulvescens  Rafinesque, 1817. Am Monthly Mag. Crit. Rev. v1, 288. Lake Erie, North America.
    Diagnostic Features
    Spiracle present. Snout and caudal peduncle subconical. Gill membranes joined to isthmus. Mouth transverse. 4 moderately short, prominent ventral barbels well in advance of mouth.  Gill rakers 25-40, but usually 32-35, short and blunt.  D: 35-40; A:25-30 rays. Tip of caudal fin reaching only to anterior edge of caudal fulcral plate. Caudal peduncle long.  Scutes prominent, sharp and adjacent in very young and separated and more rounded or inconspicuous in larger individuals: 9-17 dorsal scutes; 29-42 lateral scutes; 7-12 ventral scutes. Body largely covered by minute, dermal denticles on a very tough skin.  Juveniles less than 30 cm, with two large black blotches on upper surface of snout and between dorsal and lateral scutes and covered with small black spots with black saddle markings on head, back, sides and caudal peduncle. Large blotches dissapear when individuals reach 61 cm. Larger specimens olive-brown to grey on back and sides, white below. Fins dark brown or grey (partly from Scott & Crossman, 1990) 
    Geographical Distribution

    Launch the Aquatic Species Distribution map viewer

    The native range of the lake sturgeon includes three major watersheds: the Laurentian Great Lakes, Hudson-James Bay and the Mississippi River (Houston, 1987).
    Habitat and Biology
    Lake sturgeon inhabits bottom of lakes and large rivers.Over mud, sand or gravel, usually between 5-9 m depth.Food is searched by constant movement close to the bottom. Food types ranges widely and composition depends on availability: crayfish, molluscs, insect larvae (mainly chironomids), nymphs (mainly Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera and Neuroptera), leeches, amphipods, decapods, etc. Feeding ceases for the whole of the spawning period.The optimum spawning temperature appears to be between 13ºC and 18ºC. 
    The lake sturgeon spawn from early May to late June. It leaves lakes on the spawning migration not long after the spawning rivers are free from ice. They spawn in depths of 0.6 to 9 m and in areas of swift water or rapids. No nest is constructed and the adhesive eggsare scattered and adhere to rocks and logs. Males reach the spawning grounds first and congregate before the spawning temperatures are reached. Age at sexual maturitry, age at first spawning, and intervals between successive spawnings has long been a debatable point. Magnin (1966) felt that, depending on locality south to north, females spawned every 4-6 years and males every year to every 2 or 3 years.  The usual maximum age for females is 80 years while for males is 55 years.
    Maximum size: 274 cm TL. Maximum weight:125 kg.
    Interest to Fisheries
    The catches are low. It is an important sport fish in Canada. There is an important winter spear fishery by anglers in Michigan and Wisconsin (Scott & Crossman, 1990).
    The flesh, especially when smoked, is delicious.
    Local Names
    CANADA : Esturgeon jaune ,  Lake sturgeon ,  Nameo .
    FINLAND : Järvisampi .
    FRANCE : Esturgeon de lac .
    NORWAY : Amerikansk stör .
    POLAND : Jesiotr jeziorny .
    SPAIN : Esturión lacustre .
    SWEDEN : Amerikansk stör .
    UNITED KINGDOM : Lake Sturgeon .
    USA : Lake Sturgeon .
    There are many other synonyms (up to 29), mainly by Duméril, 1870.
    Beamish, F.W.H., D.L.G. Noakes & A. Rossiter. - 1998. Feeding ecology of juvenile lake sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens, in northern Ontario. Can. Field-Nat. .  112(3):459-468..
    Bigelow, H.B., M.G. Bradbury, J.R. Dymond, J.R. Greeley, S.F. Hildebrand, G.W. Mead, R.R. Miller, L.R. Rivas, W.L. Schroeder, R.D. Suttkus & V.D. Vladykov. - 1953. Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Soft-rayed bony fishes. Mem. Sears. Found. Mar. Res. .  1(Pt. 3): 630.p.
    Birstein, V.J. - 1993. Sturgeons and paddlefishes: threatened fishes in need of conservation. Conserv. Biol. .  7:773-787..
    Ferguson, M.M. & G.A. Duckworth. - 1997. The status and distribution of lake sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens, in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec: a genetic perspective. Environ. Biol. Fish. .  48: 299-309..
    Guénette, S., D. Goyette, R. Fortin, J. Leclerc, N. Fournier, G. Roy & P. Dumont. - 1992. La periodicité de la croissance chez la femelle de l'esturgeon jaune (Acipenser fulvescens) du fleuve Saint-Laurent est-elle reliée à la périodicité de la reproduction. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. .  49:1336-1342..
    Houston, J.J. - 1987. Status of the lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) in Canada. Can.Field-Naturalist. .  101:171-185..
    Magnin, E. - 1962. Recherches sur la Systématique et la Biologie des Acipenseridés, Acipenser fulvescens. Raf. Ann. Stat. Cent. Hydrobiol. Appl. .  9:7-242..
    Magnin, E. - 1966. Quelques données biologiques sur la reproduction des esturgeons Acipenser fulvescens de la rivière Nottaway, tributaire de la baie James. Can. J. Zool. .  44:257-263..
    Page, L.M. & B.M. Burr. - 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. .  432 .p.
    Scott, W.B. & E.J. Crossman. - 1990. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can. .  (184):966 .p.
    Thuemler, T.F. - 1985. The lake sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens, in the Menominee River, Wisconsin-Michigan. Environ. Biol. Fish. .  14:73-78..
    Vladykov, V. & J.R. Greeley. - 1963. Order Acipenseroidei. In. H.B. Bigelow & W.C. Schroeder (ed.) Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Sears Found. Mar. Res., Yale University, New Haven. .  Pp. 24-60..
    Powered by FIGIS