Acipenser brevirostrum

Common Name

Shortnose Sturgeon

Year Described

Lesueur, 1818


Anal Fin: 19-29
Gill Rakers: 22-29 (mean of 25)
Dorsal Scutes: 9-13
Lateral Scutes: 25-32
Ventral Scutes: 8-9

Body elongate, flattened ventrally, with a pentagonal cross-section. Snout short and blunt (in large specimens up to 1.2 time in post-orbital length or 2.4 times eye diameter) with four sensory barbels (reaching upper lip). Mouth width more than 3/5 of interorbital distance. Three rows of large scutes on body: post-dorsal and pre-anal scutes in a single row. No large scutes between lateral scute row and anal fin base. Viscera black. Dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins set far back on body. Anal fin origin over anterior third of dorsal fin. Dorsal margin falcate. Pelvic fin rays reach just short of dorsal origin when depressed. Pectoral fins pointed; low on body. Caudal fin heterocercal with rounded lower lobe.


Gray, olive, or brownish above with a pale belly. Scutes noticeably lighter in color. Juveniles with dark blotches.


Mature adults from 45-55cm. Maximum size to 143cm.


Estuaries and coastal waters. Ascend coastal rivers to spawn.

Range Map

 Range Map


New Brunswick, Canada to northeastern Florida.


Smith, C. Lavett. The Inland Fishes of New York State. 1985. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY, 522 pp.

Vladykov, V. D. and J. R. Greeley. 1963. Order Acipenseroidei. In: Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Memoir, Sears Foundation for Marine Research, Number 1. Yale Univ. New Haven, CT, p. 24-60.