Re: NANFA-- FW: Giant Sturgeon

Christopher Scharpf (
Fri, 23 Nov 2001 12:40:33 -0400

> I am a free-lance research journalist in Brooklyn, NY. I have a question
> concerning the Latin name of the Giant Sturgeon. The London Times on July
> 27, 2001 had an article that spoke of the Chesapeake Bay, on the coast of
> Virginia and Maryland. In 1607 it said, Captain James Smith lost a cannon
> overboard and said that it was 'clearly visible in over 30 feet of water'.
> It continued by saying, 'Grey whales, dolphins, manatees, river otters, sea
> turtles, alligators and giant sturgeon were numerous.'
> So, my question is, do you know what the actual latin name for the giant
> sturgeon referred to here was? Was it the beluga or perhaps the Atlantic
> sturgeon? Again my main interest is in the LATIN name of this sturgeon.

Capt. Smith was most likely referring to Atlantic sturgeon, Acipenser
oxyrinchus oxyrinchus, which reaches up to 14 feet. It's possible that he
also saw the smaller (4.6 feet) shortnose sturgeon, Acipenser brevirostrum,
which would also have been common in Chesapeake Bay in the 1600s.

Chris Scharpf

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