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The pallid sturgeon is native to the Yellowstone River, Missouri River, middle and lower Mississippi River, and the lower segments of their major tributaries. It is a bottom-dwelling fish that lives in large, turbid, freeflowing rivers. The pallid sturgeon has poor vision and relies on its highly sensitive barbels to locate food. Individuals can live up to 70 years, and females do not reproduce until they are 15 to 20 years old.
Historical records indicate that the pallid sturgeon was never a common species, but it has experienced significant declines in distribution and abundance over the last 75 years. During this period, alterations to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers
occurred, including channelization, bank stabilization, impounding and river flow modification.