Upper tail fin lobe has a long, slender filament, which may break off in adults. Fringed barbels are present, and the lip has 4 lobes. Bases of barbels form a straight line. No spiracle, the small round hole found above the eye in lake sturgeon. Similar to pallid sturgeon with following exceptions: shorter and less pointed snout, bases of inner barbels are about equal distant between the mouth and snout tip, inner barbels are more fringed and thicker, width of barbel bases are more than half the width of the outer barbel bases and the fish’s belly is covered with plates. Thin scale-like plates on belly. Long, slender filament on tail (if not broken off). Reddish-brown or buff color. Cartilaginous, boneless skeleton like other sturgeon species.