Danube Virtual Museum

Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula)

Title: Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula)
Location/Region: The Danube, Prahovo
Chrolonology: 1900 - 2000
Museum: Natural History Museum in Belgrade
Country: Serbia
Closer Dating: 2006
Dimensions: TL - 112 cm, W-6.65 kg


Paddlefish, with a scientific name Polyodon spathula, can be found naturally in the U.S. Mississippi River drainage system - including Missouri and Ohio rivers and their tributaries.
It inhabits slow-flowing rivers and is usually found at waters deeper than 1.5 meters. It may grow up to a length of 220cm and weigh up to 90 kg. Their life expectancy is around 55 years. Females reach sexual maturity at 9, while males do at 6. What characterizes the paddlefish is a snout on the upper jaw, which is greatly elongated and flattened into a paddle shape so it resembles a trowel. It feeds on plankton. Adult specimens have no teeth. It is popular for its delicious meat and eggs, which are used to make caviar. Paddlefish is related to our sturgeon species (ACIPENSERIFORMES). Like sturgeon, polyodon has a cartilaginous skeleton, a smooth and scale-free body, with four mustaches above the mouth.

From the Museum Collections