The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Acipenser transmontanus
Acipenser transmontanus
(White Sturgeon)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Acipenser transmontanus Richardson, 1836

Common name: White Sturgeon

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Moyle (2002); Wydoski and Whitney (1979); Page and Burr (1991).

Size: 6.1 m and nearly one ton.

Native Range: Pacific Coast from Alaska Bay, Alaska, to central California and extreme northwestern Montana (Page and Burr 1991).

Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Acipenser transmontanus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AZ196719672Havasu-Mohave Lakes; Lower Colorado Region
CA196720072Havasu-Mohave Lakes; Santa Ana
GA199219921Upper Coosa
ID198920109American Falls; Big Wood; Blackfoot; Brownlee Reservoir; C.J. Strike Reservoir; Lake Walcott; Lower Boise; Upper Snake; Upper Snake-Rock
OR199119973Brownlee Reservoir; Upper Klamath Lake; Upper Rogue

Table last updated 7/18/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Intentionally stocked in the Colorado River, on the Arizona-California border, in Oregon, and presumably in Idaho. The possibility of introduction for the Coosa River collection is not clear. We have some reports that several hundred White Sturgeon were intentionally released from a fish farm on Cohulla Creek in the Conasauga system, in the Coosa River drainage in Georgia (J. D. Williams, personal communication; B. Freeman, personal communicaton in Walters 1997). However, G. Beisser (personal communication) says they were confiscated and does not believe any were intentionally released. Game and Fish biologists searched the area and no sturgeon were found downstream of the fish farm that had them. Walters (1997) reported a second fish that was captured from the Coosa but does not say if it was in Alabama or Georgia.

Status: Status of Lake Havasu population is not known; there is no evidence of reproduction (Minckley 1973; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Swift et al. 1993; Rinne 1994). The last specimen from the Colorado River was caught in 1976 (Swift et al. 1993). Reported from California, Idaho, and Oregon. No sturgeon have been reported since release in Georgia, so presumably they failed.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: A single subadult individual taken in 1992 in the Coosa River, Talladega County, Alabama, (Anonymous 1992b, c; D. Catchins, personal communication) was previously identified as this species. It was later identified as a lake sturgeon A. fulvescens, a species native to the Coosa River. The specimen is deposited at the Florida Museum of Natural History (UF 93520).

References: (click for full references)

Anonymous. 1992b. Hooked. Atlanta Journal, 28 November 1992. p. A3.

Anonymous. 1992c. Angler lands in hot water over a question of identity. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 29 November 1992. p. A3.

Bond, C.E. 1994. Keys to Oregon freshwater fishes. Oregon State University Bookstores, Corvallis, OR.

Catchins, D. - Alabama Fish and Game, Montgomery, AL.

Idaho Fish and Game. 1990. Fisheries Management Plan 1991-1995. Appendix I - A list of Idaho fishes and their distribution by drainage. Idaho Fish and Game.

Lee, D.S., C.R. Gilbert, C.H. Hocutt, R.E. Jenkins, D.E. McAllister, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980 et seq. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC.

Li, H. - Professor, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

Minckley, W.L. 1973. Fishes of Arizona. Arizona Fish and Game Department. Sims Printing Company, Inc., Phoenix, AZ.

Moyle, P.B. 2002. Inland fishes of California. 2nd edition. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Page, L.M., and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Field Guide Series, volume 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Rinne, J.N. 1994. The effects of introduced fishes on native fishes: Arizona, southwestern United States. World fisheries congress, May 1992, Athens, Greece.

Swift, C.C., T.R. Haglund, M. Ruiz, and R.N. Fisher. 1993. The status and distribution of the freshwater fishes of southern California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science 92(3):101-167.

Walters, D.M. 1997. The distribution, status, and ecology of the fishes of the Conasauga River system. Master's thesis, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

Wydoski, R.S., and R.R. Whitney. 1979. Inland fishes of Washington. University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA.

Other Resources:
White sturgeon - Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission

Marine Species with Aquaculture Potential - Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State University

California Fish Species - University of California Davis

US Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Risk Screening Summary for Acipenser transmontanus

FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 7/2/2019

Peer Review Date: 2/2/2012

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2024, Acipenser transmontanus Richardson, 1836: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=300, Revision Date: 7/2/2019, Peer Review Date: 2/2/2012, Access Date: 7/18/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/18/2024].

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