Called the “Dinosaurs of the Great Lakes,” the lake sturgeon is the oldest and largest native species of fish in the Great Lakes. Because of this, sturgeon are kind of like swimming fossils. Lake sturgeon are bottom-feeders with sensitive spade-like snouts and armor-like plates for protection. The Seneca Park Zoo has three fingerling sturgeon on exhibit in the ECO Center and three in the Eagle Pond along the Genesee Trail.
Lake sturgeon were once so abundant in the Great Lakes region that they were caught and discarded by fishermen. Today they are rarely seen and are considered a threatened and vulnerable species. Over harvested for their eggs, oil and meat, the lake sturgeon’s numbers have also dropped because its spawning grounds are being destroyed and polluted. The lake sturgeon’s extremely slow reproductive cycle also makes it susceptible to decline. In 2003, the U.S. Geological Survey along with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation stocked in the Genesee River with 1,900 juvenile lake sturgeon in an effort to restore the species to its natural habitat.
Lake sturgeon inhabit the waters of the Great Lakes region, especially the Huron-Erie Corridor.
These carnivores eat snails, mollusks, worms, crayfish and larvae.