Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Sea Monster Washes Ashore in SC

According to live5news.com, a veterinarian from the South Carolina Aquarium identified the body as that of a sturgeon.
There are several sturgeon species in North America, and all get large.  The Atlantic sturgeon is the species that is found in South Carolina waters, and they can grow to be 15 feet long and weigh 800 pounds (although more commonly they are less than ten feet long and weigh around 300 pounds).  Sturgeons have been around for over 100 million years, and individual fish can live to be over 60 years old. 

Their bodies are covered in bony plates called scutes rather then scales, and they have tiny eyes and barbels on their face that help them locate prey in the muddy bottom of murky water, all of which gives them their bizarre appearance. 
Sadly, sturgeon are on the decline. National Wildlife Federation reports:

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