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What Do Sturgeons Eat?

Category: Fish.

Sturgeons are one of the oldest species of fish in existence on the planet Earth, with the fossil record indicating that the species is at least 200 million years old. It is second only to the coelacanths, which is 400 millions years old. Sturgeon are a formidable fish, they live approximately 60 years, can grow in length up to 15 feet and can weigh in excess of 800 pounds. In other words, they are about the size of a small car. How would you like it if one of those suddenly jumped out of the water and struck you? I’m sure you wouldn’t want that to happen.

Foods that a sturgeon will feed on: aquatic vegetation, leeches, fly, insect larvae, worms, clams and snails. © Karl Scheidegger.

What do these giants eat?

Sturgeon mainly feed on small organisms when they are just babies, when they grow up they start to eat all kinds of things. They are known to eat dead fish and when swimming in the river areas, mollusks, crustaceans and lampreys, an eel which comes to spawn at the same time that the sturgeon come to spawn, are often on the menu.

From oceans to rivers

In open waters, particularly near ocean inlets, the sturgeon will eat smelt and shad. When the large swarms of smaller fish enter into the river systems, they provide an ample source of the sturgeon.

Cooking sturgeons

Properly cooked, the sturgeon is an edible food source for humans but they must be cooked properly, de-skinned and cook thoroughly. Fishermen fish sturgeon along the rivers in America, but sturgeons are not a particularly tasty fish, and there are other fish species that taste better within the same fishing waters.

They lay a lot of eggs

A sturgeon’s mouth. © Karl Scheidegger.

Sturgeon have the ability to spawn sheer numbers of eggs. The female sturgeon lays approximately 800,000 to 4,000,000 eggs per year during the spawn. Despite this, the sturgeon remains a species under threat.

Expensive caviar

The most popular and practical commercial use for sturgeons is actually the production of caviar from sturgeons located in the Caspian Sea. This caviar can be frightfully expensive and is highly prized the world over. I personally love the stuff. I usually buy it for family get-together, weddings or other festive events. A small bottle of sturgeon caviar, perhaps 2 to 4 ounces, may cost upwards of $200 or more.

They will be around for a long time

Sturgeon will probably continue to be around for a long time. They have been around much longer than man, and there is a good chance still be around much longer after man is gone. However, we still need to be careful that we don’t wipe out the sturgeon population, and that will require man to be responsible regarding their sturgeon cultivation and usage.


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