Iowa DNR
River & Stream Biological Monitoring
Fish and Benthic Macroinvertebrate Surveys
Physical Habitat Assessments

Shovelnose Sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus

Acipenseridae (Sturgeons)
Trophic Class
Benthic Invertivore
Is Exotic to Iowa?
Is Lithophilous Spawner?
Is Hybrid?
State Listing Status
Not Listed
Assessment Program Statistics

This species was found at 16 bioassessment sites, 0 rapid fish bioassessment sites, 6 fisheries assessment sites, and 0 fisheries presence-only assessment sites. In total, it was collected at 22 distinct sites, or 1.6% of the 1382 total sites monitored by the bioassessment program. It is the 87th most commonly collected species.

The Shovelnose Sturgeon was collected in 21 bioassessment sampling sessions and 6 fisheries assessment sessions. It was present in 0 rapid bioassessment sessions and 0 presence-only sessions.

The biological assessment program has collected a total of 237 individual Shovelnose Sturgeon specimens, ranking it the #83 most collected fish.

Species Characteristics

Buff or olive-drab above and light beneath. Its entire body is armored with heavy plates. Its snout is markedly flattened or shovel-shaped. There are no spiracles. A very long, thread-like filament attached to the top lobe of the tail fin, gives this fish one of its common names, switchtail. This filament is very fragile and is often missing, especially in older fish. This species commonly weighs 6- to 8-pounds, but 4- or 5-pound fish are more common.

Species Distribution Maps

HUC12 watersheds where this species has been found