DistributionRead full entry
Range DescriptionThe species occurs throughout much of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and portions of their largest tributaries (Lee 1978), including the lower Ohio River (Smith 1979). The species once occurred as far upstream in the Ohio River as Pennsylvania (Trautman 1981). Shovelnose sturgeon are rare above Newburg, Indiana (Wallace et al. 1990), but relatively abundant below Smithland Locks and Dam at Ohio River kilometer 1,479 (Greg Conover, USFWs, pers. comm.). The Scaphirhynchus species, previously reported as shovelnose sturgeon in the drainages of Mobile Bay in Alabama by Smith-Vaniz (1968), were reclassified by Williams and Clemmer (1991) as the Alabama sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus suttkusi). The only known subpopulation of shovelnose sturgeon in the Alabama portion of the Tennessee River is apparently extinct. Shovelnose sturgeon may still occur sporadically in the lower Tennessee or Cumberland Rivers (Etnier and Starnes 1993). A disjunct subpopulation once occurred in the Rio Grande of Northern New Mexico (Tomelleri and Eberle 1990), but only one specimen is known to exist from that subpopulation (Blair et al. 1968). Eddy and Underhill (1974) report shovelnose sturgeon occurring in the Hudson Bay drainage of the Canadian Plains. This may be an error, however, since Scott and Crossmen (1973) in Freshwater Fishes of Canada make no reference to the species in that country.