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Atlantic Sturgeon

    Acipenser oxyrhynchus or Common Sturgeon    



Photo at Lester Associates in Congers, NY, the display house that hired Dr. Durand to sculpt the sturgeon.
Dr.Durand has done free lance work through Lester's [no longer in business] for many years.
Sturgeon model at Lester Assoc Office
This is the completed art-foam model with a bronzed finish to show the foundry the color desired
The sturgeon was commissioned for the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Museum, and the bronze is housed there


Durand working on Sturgeon foam model
Earl Rumsey Durand, sculptor

A special, hard foam is used to sculpt the model. The fish is 6 1/2 feet in length, so the foam is not hollowed out, which gives the model the strength for shipping. This rigidity also allows the foundry to cut the piece, if needed, to make a mold for casting the bronze.

The Tallix Foundry cast the bronze.

Acipenser oxyrhynchus
by Tom Hayes: Aqua Zoo Keeper
Pittsburgh Zoo


Vital Statistics

SIZE:/WEIGHT:14 feet long - 800 pounds
LIFESPAN: over 150 years
COLOR: Cryptic earth brown coloration lends itself well to the life of a slow-moving bottom dweller.
WHERE FOUND: Along the coastal regions of the Atlantic from Florida to the St. Lawrence river.
ECOLOGICAL HABITAT: Adults move in from the shallows of the Atlantic ocean inland to cool fresh water rivers and waterways to spawn. Juveniles live their early lives in these fresh wate habitats.


FEEDING: Sturgeons feed off the bottom by a specialized tube-like mouth part located on their ventral side. They feel along the dark bottom using a whisker feeler apparatus. Food consists of animal and plant life, dead and alive.
REPRODUCTION: Sturgeon females lay millions of eggs at a time, which are fertilized outside her body by the male. Much less than one percent of the eggs ever develop into adults.

Conservation Status

The Atlantic Sturgeon is considered locally extirpated from much of its former range. The decline of this species is due to the effects of dams, water pollution, and over fishing -especially for its highly esteemed caviar. Today most of the sturgeon caught are less than half the size of those caught earlier in the centure (70 vs. 149). In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the Atlantic Sturgeon is listed as threatened. By definition this means that catching, killing, possessing, importing to or exporting from this Commonwealth, selling, or offering for sale, or purchasing of ths species, alive or dead, without a special permit is prohibited.

Fun Facts

The Atlantic Sturgeon is a denizen of the past living in today's world. It is characterized best as a long brown fish with skeletal system made up of mostly cartilage with a tough armored hide consisting of rows of bony plated, and looks more like something that would be found in a museum rather than the Pittsburgh Zoo's public aquarium. Since the Atlantic Sturgeon is listed as a protected species in Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Aqua Zoo has been issued a special permit by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to display the Atlantic Sturgeon for educational purposed.

Links to Sturgeon Information

Sturgeon of the Hudson River - Cornell University
Sturgeon: Ancient Survivors of the Deep - Info on TV times for this excellent film by Betty Wills
Sturgeon Notes - Cornell
Hudson River study map
Sturgeon graphics
Photo of Sturgeon - RDPC Science Department Sturgeon News "Raising Caviar"
Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) found in the Missouri River
Identifying Sturgeon - Pallid, Shovelnose, Lake
Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser Fulvescens) WI record 170 lbs 10 oz in 1979
Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) 500 lb in Chesapeake Bay tributaries - MD Sea Grant
Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) New York status: threatened (photo)
The lake sturgeon is one of New York's largest freshwater fish. Mature adults average between 3-5 feet in length and 10-80 pounds in weight, but can occasionally grow as large as 7+ feet and 300+ pounds. In New York, lake sturgeon have been collected in St. Lawrence River, Niagara River, Oswegatchie River, Grasse River, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Champlain, Cayuga Lake, and in the Seneca and Cayuga canals.
Shortnose Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) usually less than 3 ft lives in Atlantic Seaboard rivers from so Canada to ne FL
GULF STURGEON (Acipenser oxyrhynchus desotoi)STATUS: Threatened, Federal Register 9/20/91 - subspecies of the Atlantic sturgeon
Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus) photo - 150,000 juveniles may reside in the Hudson R. any given time
Atlantic Sturgeon Maryland Fisheries tagging program
Sturgeon fish farm Florida
Sturgeon Point light Lake Erie
Sturgeon tag recovery SW Washington - form to fill out
Huge Sturgeon washes up on shores of Lake Erie (Post-Gazette)
Shortnose Sturgeon of Maine
Is Nessie a Sturgeon?
Sturgeon Research Program South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Sturgeon
Columbia Encyclopedia - Sturgeon

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