Classification / Names
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Acipenseriformes
(Sturgeons and paddlefishes) > Polyodontidae
Etymology: Polyodon: Greek, polys = a lot of + Greek, odous = teeth (Ref. 45335); spathula: Polyodon, many toothed, perhaps due to the numerous gill rakers because adult paddlefish lack teeth, although young fish has many small teeth, and spathula meaning spatula, due to its elongated snout (Ref. 79012).
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; demersal; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 2 - ? m. Temperate; 10°C - 18°C (Ref. 2060), preferred ?; 50°N - 30°N
North America: Mississippi River system, including the Missouri River into Montana, the Ohio River, and their major tributaries. At least one country reports adverse ecological impact after introduction. International trade restricted (CITES II, since 11.6.92).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 221 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5723); common length : 120 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 12193); max. published weight: 90.7 kg (Ref. 3221); max. reported age: 55 years (Ref. 46974)
Snout long, canoe-paddle-shaped; gill cover with large, fleshy, pointed flap (Ref. 86798).
Inhabits slow-flowing water of large rivers, usually in water deeper than 1.3 m. Feeds on plankton. The extended upper jaw (= paddle) may help to channel plankton into the mouth. Threatened due to over harvesting, habitat loss and pollution (Ref. 58490).
Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea and W.B. Scott, 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Pub. (20):183 p. (Ref. 3814)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)
Fisheries: commercial; aquarium: public aquariums
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 1.2500 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00646 (0.00433 - 0.00962), b=3.09 (2.98 - 3.20), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.4 ±0.45 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (tm=6-9; tmax=30).
Prior r = 0.21, 2 SD range = 0.07 - 0.62, log(r) = -1.56, SD log(r) = 0.53, Based on: 2 tgen, 1 tmax, 2 Fec records
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (85 of 100) .