Atlantic Sturgeon: Amazingly Ancient, Sometimes Very Large, Long-Lived and Now You Can Touch Some

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Ever wonder what Earth was like 200 million years ago? Visit The Maritime Aquarium’s new Sturgeon Touch Tank for an up-close encounter with Atlantic sturgeon, whose ancestors swam through the water long before dinosaurs roamed.

— an announcement from The Maritime Aquarium

“We are particularly excited about this new exhibit because it is especially rare  — only a few aquariums in the nation have sturgeon touch tanks,” said President and CEO Jason Patlis. “We hope visitors come and enjoy this very unique experience and learn about a very unique species.”

Atlantic Sturgeon Touch Tank The Maritime Aquarium

Photo from The Maritime Aquarium

At the Atlantic Sturgeon touch tank in The Maritime Aquarium

Once abundant, Atlantic sturgeon were harmed by over-fishing, pollution, and dams blocking river routes. Today, these fish are classified as an endangered species and there are conservation efforts being made on both the federal and state levels to protect them.

They have recently been found in the Connecticut River where they were previously thought to have disappeared from entirely.


Found between Canada and Florida, Atlantic sturgeon can grow up to 14 feet long and live up to 60 years. They hatch in rivers, where they grow for 1 to 7 years, before moving to the ocean. Around 15 years old, they begin to migrate seasonally between the ocean and rivers to reproduce, feeding on worms, mollusks, crustaceans, and bottom-dwelling fish.

The Atlantic sturgeon’s 32-foot, 7,000-gallon habitat, located next to the North American river otters, expands the role of creatures that reside in the tributaries that lead to Long Island Sound play at the Aquarium. Other species in this section include Atlantic salmon, brown trout, lake sturgeon, and brook trout.

Atlantic Sturgeon

Photo from The Maritime Aquarium

Meet an Atlantic Sturgeon at The Maritime Aquarium.

This is the Aquarium’s fourth permanent touch exhibit. Guests are also encouraged to interact with cownose rays, chain catsharks, moon jellies, and a variety of crabs during their visits.

Connecticut children can enjoy this new experience for free through Connecticut Summer at the Museum until Sept. 4. For more information, visit the aquarium website.

Atlantic Sturgeon touch tank at The Maritime Aquarium, kid and adult

Photo from The Maritime Aquarium

They’re native to Connecticut. Go ahead and touch it.


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