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Endangered Missouri Sturgeon


In the tiny town of Fort Benton, Montana, we like to stay at an RV park that is close to the rodeo grounds beside the Missouri River. Last year, after a long day’s drive, we took a walk to the river. At this point, we are about 200 miles from its headwaters.

The sun was slowly setting, and so was the moon. See the evidence? The cliffs along the riverbank are warmed by the last rays of the sun and if you look hard, you may see the moon sinking  in the sky, amid the branches of the tree.

Geese are honking from the direction of the grassy islands in the river. Later that night we would hear the coyotes howling near the same place.


The Missouri is a powerful river in places. It is the longest river in the U. S. flowing for 2,341 miles before joining up with the Mississippi River just north of St. Louis, Missouri.

I had been so focused on the geese flying along the river, I hadn’t given much thought to what might be under the water. What a surprise to read on this poster, that there are sturgeon in the Missouri.

If you would like to read about the two kinds of sturgeon and how to tell them apart, you can click on the photo above and it will be easier to read.

I have to confess, I had known nothing about these sturgeon, not even their names (pallid and shovelnose). The pallid sturgeon is endangered and lives mainly in this river system. It grows to a length of five or six feet and can live to be about 40 years old.

On the picture I thought it looked a bit shark-like, but that mouth on its underside is mainly for feeding on the river bottom.  Whew! Otherwise I wouldn’t be putting my toes in that river.

Who knew that these creatures lurk in the depths of the river!?

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

27 thoughts on “Endangered Missouri Sturgeon

  1. Thanks for sharing that interesting piece of information, Anneli.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So many interesting places and things to discover.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have Sturgeon in the Kootenay River below the Brilliant Dam. Prehistoric looking beasts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We also have them in the Fraser River, but they are not the same types as the Missouri River ones.
      They really do look like they belong to a prehistoric age. They probably haven’t changed much in thousands and thousands of years. I read that they like to hang out on the river bottom in deep water and swift currents. Suits me. No chance for my toes to get nibbled then.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. No! Those barbels would tickle! And we might die laughing.


  5. Interesting post and lovely scenery.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sturgeon are amazing and very old on the evolutionary record, about 200 million years, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So I guess my estimate of a few thousand years was a little bit off. What a couple of hundred million years anyway?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Striking photos. Those cliffs look like a land tsunami coming at you. The first think that jumped out at me in that one photo was the moon between the tree branches.

    I remember when we drove to South Dakota, there was nothing but prairies for thousands of miles, and then all of a sudden I saw a huge body of water. I thought it was a mirage, but it turned out to be the Missouri River. Then after we crossed over it on the bridge, back to desolate prairies.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The Missouri was such a passageway for settlers and merchants in its day. These are beautiful pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jacqui. One Fort Benton resident told us there were a lot of stories of rough and tough guys coming and going on the riverboat that went through there in the early days. Just like in the Wild West. Well, it WAS the Wild West.


  10. Interesting information and beautiful pictures! Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Very interesting post and perfect pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love the sunset on the cliffs. Great post, Anneli.

    Liked by 1 person

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