The White Sturgeon: Acipenser transmontanus “Sturgeon Beyond the Mountains”
As I sat at the ocean side watching the waves breaking over the kelp-covered rocks my thoughts turned to ones of timelessness. It was then I saw the scenery before me turn into a sturgeon, the prehistoric fish that is as primeval as the surrounding geography. The Raven with the Sun and Moon showed themselves as I was finishing the Painting. It seemed fitting, as their legend is one of the oldest, repeated by tribes up and down the coastal Pacific Northwest. The rainbow in the tail is our wish to keep this one of the planet’s oldest residents from becoming extinct.
Seeing sturgeon is catching a glimpse of one of the aquatic inhabitants of earth 175 million years ago. Sturgeons, instead of scales like most fish have scutes, which are like platelets. These look and serve as a type of armor. They sense food with the four barbells hanging by their toothless mouth. Sturgeon live in the deep pools and stagnant waters of large rivers, in estuaries and in the soft ocean bottoms where they only return to the river to spawn. These fish grow to lengths of 3.8 meters (12 1/2 feet) and can weigh up to 816 kilograms (1799 pounds).