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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Fragile Legacy

Endangered, Threatened & Rare Animals of South Dakota

Sturgeon Chub (Hybopsis gelida)

JPG--species photo species distribution map
Status: Fedral Candidate, State Threatened

Description: This small (2-3 inches, 50-70 mm) fish has a light brown back with fine dark specks and silvery sides and belly. Its eyes are reduced. Taste buds cover the fins, head and body, probably to aid the sturgeon chub in locating food.

Habitat and Habits: The sturgeon chub prefers swift current areas of channels of large silty rivers, usually over gravel bottoms. Little is known about the biology of this fish. Its diet is suspected to be mainly bottom-dwelling invertebrates. It probably spawns from late spring to midsummer.

Distribution: The sturgeon chub historically occurred in the Missouri River drainage from Montana to the Mississippi River and in the Mississippi River drainage to the mouth of the Ohio. In South Dakota, it has been found in the Missouri, White, Cheyenne, Grand and Little Missouri Rivers. It may primarily be restricted to areas below Ft. Randall Dam.

Conservation Measures: The sturgeon chub is threatened because of habitat loss from Missouri River impoundments, possibly because of decreased turbidity below Missouri River dams.

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