Acipenser fulvescens

Common Name

Lake Sturgeon

Year Described

Rafinesque, 1817


Anal Fin: 25-35
Gill Rakers: 25-40 (mean of 33)
Dorsal Scutes: 9-17
Lateral Scutes: 29-42
Ventral Scutes: 7-12

Body elongate, flattened ventrally, with a pentagonal cross-section. Snout rather long (shortening with age) 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. Ventral scutes disappear in large specimens. Viscera black. Dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins set far back on body. Anal fin origin over the mid-base of dorsal fin. Dorsal margin concave. Pelvic fin rays reach level of dorsal origin when depressed. Pectoral fins pointed; low on body. Caudal fin heterocercal with rounded lower lobe.


Uniform gray to brownish gray. Dorsal and lateral scutes similar to body coloration. Young specimens with a greenish hue ventrally and several dark spots and blotches.


Mature adults from 90-120cm. Maximum size to 275cm.


Large rivers and lakes. Mainly found in freshwater but occasionally strays into brackish water.

Range Map

 Range Map


Brackish water only: Hudson Bay and the Gulf of Maine


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.