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paddlefish, large freshwater fish, Polyodon spathula, of the Mississippi valley, also called spoonbill or duckbill and named for its flattened, paddle-shaped snout. The largest specimens weigh well over 150 lb (67.5 kg) and reach 6 ft (183 cm) in length. The snout may be a third of the length of the body; it is equipped with sense organs that assist the fish in finding its prey of small crustaceans, which it strains out with gill rakers (see gill). Paddlefishes are primitive; unlike most modern fishes, they have skins with reduced scales, almost wholly cartilaginous skeletons, and upturned tail fins. They are uniform leaden gray in color. Valued as food fish, their greenish black eggs, like the more highly valued ones of the distantly related sturgeon, are used to make caviar. A Chinese species, Psephurus gladius, found in the Chang (Yangtze) River but now believed to be extinct, reportedly grew up to 23 ft (7 m) in length, though modern recorded individuals were about half that size. Paddlefishes are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Acipenseriformes, family Polyodontidae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Polyodontidae), a family offish of the order Acipenseriformes. The skin of the paddlefish is bare or covered with small bony scales. The snout is broad, flat, long, and shaped like a paddle or sword. The jaws are armed with numerous small teeth. There are two genera, including two modern and two fossil species. The species Polyodon spathula is found in the Mississippi River, Lake Erie, and rivers in the southern USA. They are up to 2 m long and weigh up to 75 kg. They feed on worms, water insects, crustaceans, and water plants and breed from March to June. Paddlefish have local commercial significance. The species Psepherus gladius is found in China (in the Yangtze River). They are up to 7 m long. They are predators and have little commercial significance.


Nikol’skii, G. V. Chastnaia ichtiologiia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1954.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Mims, "Evidence for female heterogametic sex determination in paddlefish Polyodon spathula based on gynogenesis," Aquaculture, vol.
Evaluating effects of exploitation on annual apparent mortality rates of paddlefish using mark-recapture data.
The rostrum of the paddlefish, a species of ancient cartilaginous fish, displays unique strength, yet knowledge is lacking on what cellular and biochemical features interact during the fish's development to give the rostrum its unique strength.
And as kids, we would snag paddlefish off the bank, real strenuous casting, reeling and jerking, arduous work, and I snagged an 85-pound paddlefish and landed it one night.
Several of the fishes they observed and collected in Lake Erie have since disappeared from that body of water--most notably the paddlefish of his youth (Trautman, 1957).
Top Species: Asian carp, paddlefish, gar, buffalo Best Time to Visit: April-September License Required: Valid Arkansas or Tennessee fishing license
elongatus included: Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), Longnose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus), Gizzard Shad (Dorosoma cepedianum), Threadfin Shad (Dorosoma petenense), Central Stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum), Blacktail Shiner (Cyprinella venusta), Whitetail Shiner (Cyprinella galacturus), River Carpsucker (Carpiodes carpio), Quillback (Carpiodes cyprinus), Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio), Smallmouth Buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus).
The paddlefish, Polyodon spathula, are among the most primitive of bony-finned fishes (Osteichthyes, Actinopterygii) and together with sturgeon comprise an order of secondary cartilaginous fishes, the Acipenseriformes [1].
The Paddlefish Stout won a "people's award," but beer connoisseurs also are fond of the Redheaded IPA and Rusty Beaver Wheat.
Methylmercury concentrations found in wild and farm-raised paddlefish. J Food Sci 69(2):C122-C125.
This finding may add a new twist to the way scientists study how fins evolved into limbs since the paddlefish is often used as a proxy for a more representative ancestor shared by humans and fishes.