Acipenser transmontanus
Acipenser transmontanus
(White Sturgeon)
Native Transplant
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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).

US auto-generated map Legend USGS Logo
Alaska auto-generated map
Hawaii auto-generated map
Caribbean auto-generated map
Puerto Rico &
Virgin Islands
Guam auto-generated map
Guam Saipan
Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: White Sturgeon may have been released in the Coosa River in Georgia (J. D. Williams, personal communication) and stocked in Lake Havasu on the Colorado River (Arizona and California) in 1967 and 1968 (Minckley 1973; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Swift et al. 1993; Rinne 1994). Several collections of single fish were taken downstream at Imperial Dam in 1967 and 1969 (Swift et al. 1993). Another was taken at the mouth of the Bill Williams River, Arizona in 1976 (Swift et al. 1993). More than 200 White Sturgeon were stocked in Irvine Lake and the Santa Ana River lakes of California in 1987; several were later captured (Swift et al. 1993). The species was stocked in the Snake River above the Shoshone Falls, Idaho (Idaho Fish and Game 1990), where it is native below the falls, but not above (Idaho Fish and Game 1990). It also was introduced to upper Klamath Lake, Oregon (Bond 1994; H. Li, personal communication).

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: Unknown.

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

FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 2/2/2012

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2018, Acipenser transmontanus Richardson, 1836: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 2/2/2012, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 3/24/2018

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.

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, March 14, 2018


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [3/24/2018].

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