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Paddlefish

Paddlefish

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2023-07-18 Snargl 0 minute 0 second

Where does the Paddlefish live?

The paddlefish is a family of ray-finned fish that has two living species: the American paddlefish and the Chinese paddlefish.
The American paddlefish is native to the Mississippi River basin in the U.S., while the Chinese paddlefish was endemic to the Yangtze River basin in China.
Unfortunately, the Chinese paddlefish was declared extinct in 2022, after being last sighted in 2003.

The paddlefish are adapted to live in freshwater habitats, such as rivers, lakes, and ponds.
They prefer areas with slow-moving water and plenty of cover, such as vegetation.
They also seek out areas with high concentrations of zooplankton, which are microscopic plants and animals that they filter from the water with their large mouth and gill rakers.

The paddlefish have a distinctive feature that sets them apart from other fish: a long, paddle-shaped rostrum (snout) that extends nearly one-third of their body length.
The rostrum is covered with sensory receptors that help them detect the electrical fields of their prey and navigate in murky water.
The rostrum also helps them balance and steer in the water.

The paddlefish are considered to be primitive fish because they belong to one of the earliest diverging lineages of ray-finned fish, dating back to over 300 million years ago.
They have a cartilaginous skeleton and a heterocercal tail, which are features shared with sharks.
However, they are not closely related to sharks, but rather to sturgeons, which are the only other living group of the order Acipenseriformes.

The paddlefish are vulnerable to various threats, such as overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change.
They have been exploited for their meat, eggs, and rostrum, which are valued for food and medicine.
They have also suffered from the loss of their spawning and nursery grounds due to the construction of dams and other human activities that have altered the natural flow and quality of the rivers.

The paddlefish are fascinating and unique creatures that deserve our respect and protection.
They are an important part of the freshwater ecosystems and the biodiversity of the planet.
They are also a living link to the ancient history of life on Earth.
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