An Insight Into the Food Habits of Sturgeons
The sturgeon usually thrive in freshwater environments, but some among the species feed in brackish waters. There are a few others that migrate to waters near the coastlines. There are 27 species of the sturgeon and all of them have different diets. However, there are many similarities between them. They feed on the bottom layer of a water body such as river beds, sea floors, and lake beds.
Most of the sturgeon prefer smaller prey, especially when they are small themselves. They often feed on the filter feeders residing near the bottom of water bodies. In this process, they sweep the muddy beds of water bodies while searching for their preferred food.
How sturgeons have their food
As they don’t have teeth, the sturgeon sweep the bottoms of the water bodies while looking for their prey. Once they’ve found one, they suck it up through their mouth that acts like a vacuum. Then they swallow and digest it whole. Usually, they’ll eat anything that they allow to enter into their mouths.
The sturgeon have a range of senses to help them in their search for food. They can also find their food in complete darkness. Surprisingly, the sturgeon don’t use their visual senses while searching for food. Instead, they can chemically sense, taste, and feel their prey with the help of their barbels. They’re situated at the front of their heads.
A barbel is quite similar to the whiskers that cats have. Besides this, the sturgeon have electroreceptors in their heads, which allow them to feel electrical signals from their prey. This gives them the chance to hone in on their prey with greater accuracy. The sturgeon also like leaping out of water. This behavior has become a reason for their popularity.
Foods that different species of sturgeon eat
Of the 27 different species of the sturgeon, 9 reside in the United States. While most of the sturgeon of North America are found in freshwater, some migrate through saltwater at times. The largest and stronger inland fish species of North America are the white sturgeon. They live for over a 100 years and grow up to 20 feet in length.
Although the white sturgeon migrate inland to spawn, they reside in rivers and estuaries close to the ocean. They eat shrimp, fish eggs, clams, and also the other fish. When they grow large, they can also include the large fish into their diets. Some of the massive fish that they prey on are flounder, salmon, and herring.
One can find the lake sturgeon in freshwater environments across North America. They feed on clams, leeches, crayfish, and small fish. Worms, snails, and slugs are the other foods that they prefer. A rare sturgeon species is found only in Alabama within the Alabama River’s 130-mile stretch.
These sturgeon grow only up to 2 to 3 feet. They eat invertebrates and other fish that are smaller in size. The Atlantic sturgeon, bay dwelling sturgeon, and shortnose sturgeon are found in the Chesapeake Bay. They feed on crustaceans, shrimp, mollusks, and worms.
Many people keep the sturgeon as pets. The species that they keep as pets include the diamond, sterlet, and Siberian sturgeon. A major part of their diet is protein. Additionally, they need vitamins and minerals in their food to keep themselves healthy.