Scaphirhynchus platorynchus - (Rafinesque, 1820)
Shovelnose Sturgeon
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Scaphirhynchus platorynchus (Rafinesque, 1820) (TSN 161082)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103361
Element Code: AFCAA02020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Other Bony Fishes
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Acipenseriformes Acipenseridae Scaphirhynchus
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B91ROB01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Scaphirhynchus platorynchus
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly thought to be genetically identical to S. albus (Phelps and Allendorf 1983). Robert Sheehan of Southern Illinois University has developed techniques that can positively differentiate pallid sturgeon DNA from shovelnose sturgeon DNA (Steve Lydick, pers. comm., 2000).

Scaphirhynchus suttkusi formerly was included in this species (Williams and Clemmer 1991).

Krieger et al. (2000) examined phylogenetic relationships of North American sturgeons based on mtDNA sequences and found that nucleotide sequences for all four examined genes for the three Scaphirhynchus species were identical.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 31Jan2003
Global Status Last Changed: 09Sep1996
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (05Dec1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SX), Arkansas (S3?), Illinois (S2S3), Indiana (S4S5), Iowa (S4), Kansas (S3), Kentucky (S4), Louisiana (S4), Minnesota (S4), Mississippi (S4), Missouri (S4), Montana (S4), Nebraska (S4), New Mexico (SX), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (S1), Oklahoma (S1), Pennsylvania (SX), South Dakota (S4), Tennessee (S4), Texas (S2), West Virginia (S1), Wisconsin (S4), Wyoming (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): SAT: Listed threatened because of similar appearance (new) (01Sep2010)
Comments on USESA: Listed as threatened (USFWS, September 1, 2010) due to similarity of appearance to the endangered pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) under the similarity of appearance provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R6 - Rocky Mountain
IUCN Red List Category: VU - Vulnerable
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix II

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Throughout most of Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio rivers and their major tributaries, from western Pennsylvania (formerly; extirpated from Ohio east in Ohio River drainage) to Montana and south to Louisiana; formerly in upper Rio Grande, New Mexico.

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of subpopulations and locations.

Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but relatively large.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: There is concern about overexploitation of this species as a result of the collapse of the European and Asian caviar industry (Quist et al. 2002).

Short-term Trend Comments: Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain but likely relatively stable or slowly declining.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: Throughout most of Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio rivers and their major tributaries, from western Pennsylvania (formerly; extirpated from Ohio east in Ohio River drainage) to Montana and south to Louisiana; formerly in upper Rio Grande, New Mexico.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ALextirpated, AR, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MN, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NMextirpated, OH, OK, PAextirpated, SD, TN, TX, WI, WV, WY

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
MN Blue Earth (27013), Brown (27015), Carver (27019), Chippewa (27023), Chisago (27025), Dakota (27037), Fillmore (27045), Goodhue (27049), Hennepin (27053), Houston (27055), Le Sueur (27079), Nicollet (27103), Ramsey (27123), Redwood (27127), Renville (27129), Scott (27139), Sibley (27143), Wabasha (27157), Washington (27163), Winona (27169), Yellow Medicine (27173)
OH Pike (39131)
OK Bryan (40013)*, Choctaw (40023), Haskell (40061), Kay (40071), LeFlore (40079)*, McCurtain (40089), Muskogee (40101), Osage (40113), Sequoyah (40135), Wagoner (40145)
WY Campbell (56005), Johnson (56019), Sheridan (56033)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
04 Lake Superior (04020300)*, Door-Kewaunee (04030102), Oconto (04030104), Upper Fox (04030201), Wolf (04030202), Lake Winnebago (04030203)*, Lake Michigan (04060200)*
05 Upper Ohio (05030101)*, Upper Ohio-Wheeling (05030106)*, Upper Ohio-Shade (05030202)*, Lower Scioto (05060002)+, Whitewater (05080003), Raccoon-Symmes (05090101)*, Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103), Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201), Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203), Licking (05100101)*, Tippecanoe (05120106), Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion (05120108), Vermilion (05120109), Middle Wabash-Busseron (05120111), Lower Wabash (05120113), Eel (05120203), Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101), Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon (05140201), Highland-Pigeon (05140202), Lower Ohio-Bay (05140203), Lower Ohio (05140206)
06 Lower French Broad (06010107)*, Wheeler Lake (06030002), Pickwick Lake (06030005)*
07 Twin Cities (07010206)+, Hawk-Yellow Medicine (07020004)+, Redwood (07020006)+, Middle Minnesota (07020007)+, Cottonwood (07020008)+, Blue Earth (07020009)+, Le Sueur (07020011)+, Lower Minnesota (07020012)+, Upper St. Croix (07030001), Namekagon (07030002), Lower St. Croix (07030005)+, Rush-Vermillion (07040001)+, Cannon (07040002)+, Buffalo-Whitewater (07040003)+, La Crosse-Pine (07040006)+, Root (07040008)+, Upper Chippewa (07050001), Flambeau (07050002), Lower Chippewa (07050005), Red Cedar (07050007), Coon-Yellow (07060001)+, Grant-Little Maquoketa (07060003), Apple-Plum (07060005)*, Lower Wisconsin (07070005), Copperas-Duck (07080101)*, Flint-Henderson (07080104), Upper Rock (07090001), North Raccoon (07100006)*, Lake Red Rock (07100008)*, Lower Des Moines (07100009)*, Bear-Wyaconda (07110001)*, The Sny (07110004), Peruque-Piasa (07110009)*, Lower Illinois-Lake Chautauqua (07130003), Cahokia-Joachim (07140101), Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau (07140105), Big Muddy (07140106), Lower Kaskaskia (07140204)
08 Lower Mississippi-Memphis (08010100), Lower Mississippi-Helena (08020100), Lower St. Francis (08020203), Lower White-Bayou Des Arc (08020301), Lower White (08020303), Lower Arkansas (08020401)*, Lower Mississippi-Greenville (08030100), Deer-Steele (08030209)*, Lower Red (08040301), Black (08040305), Boeuf (08050001), Bayou Macon (08050002)
10 Upper Missouri-Dearborn (10030102), Marias (10030203), Bullwhacker-Dog (10040101), Fort Peck Reservoir (10040104), Prarie Elk-Wolf (10060001), Charlie-Little Muddy (10060005), Big Horn Lake (10080010)*, Lower Tongue (10090102), Upper Powder (10090202)+, Salt (10090204)*, Crazy Woman (10090205)+, Clear (10090206)+, Middle Powder (10090207)+, Mizpah (10090210)*, Lower Yellowstone-Sunday (10100001), Lower Yellowstone (10100004), Lake Sakakawea (10110101), Painted Woods-Square Butte (10130101), Upper Lake Oahe (10130102), Lower Lake Oahe (10130105), Middle Niobrara (10150004), Lower James (10160011), Lewis and Clark Lake (10170101), Vermillion (10170102), Upper North Platte (10180002)*, Pathfinder-Seminoe Reservoirs (10180003)*, Middle North Platte-Casper (10180007)*, Glendo Reservoir (10180008)*, Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff (10180009), Middle Platte-Buffalo (10200101), Lower Platte (10200202), Blackbird-Soldier (10230001), Big Papillion-Mosquito (10230006), Keg-Weeping Water (10240001), East Nishnabotna (10240003), Nishnabotna (10240004)*, Tarkio-Wolf (10240005), Little Nemaha (10240006), Big Nemaha (10240008), Independence-Sugar (10240011), Lower Republican (10250017)*, Lower Smoky Hill (10260008)*, Upper Kansas (10270101), Middle Kansas (10270102), Delaware (10270103), Lower Kansas (10270104), Lower Osage (10290111), Upper Gasconade (10290201), Lower Missouri-Crooked (10300101), Lower Missouri-Moreau (10300102), Lower Missouri (10300200)
11 Beaver Reservoir (11010001), Current (11010008), Lower Black (11010009)*, Spring (11010010)*, Upper White-Village (11010013), Middle Arkansas-Slate (11030013), Kaw Lake (11060001)+, Black Bear-Red Rock (11060006)+, Middle Verdigris (11070103), Lower Verdigris (11070105)+, Polecat-Snake (11110101)+, Dirty-Greenleaf (11110102)+, Robert S. Kerr Reservoir (11110104)+, Poteau (11110105)+*, Frog-Mulberry (11110201), Lake Conway-Point Remove (11110203), Lower Arkansas-Maumelle (11110207), Lower North Fork Red (11120303), Farmers-Mud (11130201), West Cache (11130203), Lake Texoma (11130210), Bois D'arc-Island (11140101)+, Blue (11140102)+*, Kiamichi (11140105)+*, Pecan-Waterhole (11140106)+, Mckinney-Posten Bayous (11140201), Red Chute (11140204)
13 Rio Grande-Albuquerque (13020203)*, Elephant Butte Reservoir (13020211)*, Caballo (13030101)*, El Paso-Las Cruces (13030102)*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed (based on multiple information sources) Help
Ecology & Life History
Reproduction Comments: Spawns in spring or early summer. Sexually mature in 5-7 years. Females probably do not spawn every year.
Ecology Comments: Generally sedentary but sometimes moved up to 12 km/day in upper Mississippi River; moved up to 17 km between activity centers (Hurley et al. 1987). May move 200 km over a period of months or years (Becker 1983).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates upstream for spawning; may migrate into smaller streams (Becker 1983).
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, Low gradient, Moderate gradient
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Deep channels and embayments of large turbid rivers; often over sand mixed with gravel or mud in areas with strong current.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Feeds mostly on bottom-dwelling immature aquatic insects and on other benthic invertebrates and fish eggs as available (Becker 1983).
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Length: 85 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Nonanadromous Sturgeons

Use Class: Not applicable
Subtype(s): Wintering Area, Spawning Area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs and larvae) in appropriate habitat.
Separation Barriers: Dam lacking a suitable fishway; high waterfall; upland habitat.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Generally each river or lake should be treated as a different occurrence, unless information on movements indicates otherwise, in which case an occurrence may encompass multiple lakes or rivers. For the largest bodies of water, use a separation distance of 200 km (measured in aquatic habitat, not over land) for both suitable and unsuitable habitat, but be careful not to separate a population's spawning and nonspawning habitats as different occurrences (i.e., do not use the 200-km separation distance without accounting for seasonal migrations, if any). Also, a smaller separation distance can be used if adequate study (radiotelemetry or recapture data) indicates that occupied locations separated by less than 200 km are not part of a single population.
Separation Justification: Separation distance is arbitrary but reflects the long-distance movements that have been documented in these fishes. For example, in the upper Mississippi River system, individual lake sturgeon had ranges of 3-198 km (median 56 km) (Knights et al. 2002). Because of the difficulty in defining suitable versus unsuitable habitat, especially with respect to dispersal, and to simplify the delineation of occurrences, a single separation distance is used regardless of habitat quality.

Some populations may, on at least a short-term basis, exhibit limited mobility. For example, in the Kettle River, Minnesota, a small population of lake sturgeon remained year-round in a 32-km section of river and appeared to mix very little with nearby populations, despite the absence of physical barriers at either end of the occupied reach (Borkholder et al. 2001). However, the authors believed that mixing probably did occur on a time scale of years.

Date: 09Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 31Jan2003
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 30Sep1993
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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References for Watershed Distribution Map
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