Sea Creature Washes Up On Folly Beach, South Carolina: What Is The Atlantic Sturgeon?

By : Subscribe to Amanda's | March 27, 2012 5:20 PM IST

South Carolina's Folly Beach got a shocking surprise when something very unusual washed up on their shore over the weekend. The mysterious sea creature, weighing in at a whopping 800 pounds,  was identified by a South Carolina aquarium veterinarian as an Atlantic sturgeon.

The Atlantic sturgeon actually made headlines at the beginning of February when federal officials declared the prehistoric fish an endangered species. Click the link to see the picture of the Atlantic sturgeon that washed up on the Folly Beach shore.

Where does the Atlantic sturgeon reside?

Many species of the sturgeon can be found in North American waters, with federal officials protecting the creatures that reside in the Delaware and Hudson rivers, as well as the Gulf of Maine, and Chesapeake, Carolina and South Atlantic, reports the Huffington Post. The specific sturgeon that washed up on shore is native to the South Carolina area.

What does a sturgeon look like?

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According to the Office of Protected Resources, the Atlantic sturgeon can reach a height of 15 feet long and weigh up to 800 lbs, but generally only grows to be 10 feet long and 300 pounds. The colors of this sea creature is generally blueish-black, but can also be olive brown. Another feature of the sturgeon are its five rows of dermal "scrutes," which are thorny scales.

What is the life span of the Atlantic sturgeon?

According to the Daily Mail, these large fish have been in our seas for 100 million years. The average span of life for the now endangered species is 60 years.

What does the Atlantic sturgeon eat?

The Atlantic sturgeon is now flesh eating piranha, even though its appearance can be frightening. According to the Office of Protected Resources, the Atlantic sturgeon feeds off crustaceans, worms and mollusks.

Why is the Atlantic sturgeon endangered?

Atlantic sturgeons are hunted for caviar. The Huffington Post reported that if the loss of Atlantic sturgeons continued, the species would never be able to recover, and would be at risk of extinction.

The Atlantic sturgeon was also being harmed by dredging of the Delaware River. The Huffington Post cites other threats to the creature as pollution, climate change and propellers of cargo ships.

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