Paddlefish, duckbill cat, spadefish and spoonbill cat.
Vulnerable (A3de) to critically endangered (A2cd)
North America and China
Exploited and dammed
The American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) is listed as vulnerable.
The paddlefish is easily recognised by its large mouth and elongated snout, known as a rostrum. Average size is 1.5m, although some larger specimens have been recorded.
The rostrum helps the fish by acting as a stablilizer. As the fish moves through the water, the rostrum creates lift, helping the fish keep its head in a steady position.
Paddlefish are filter feeders and eat zooplankton.
What are the main threats?
In North America, paddlefish are a target for sport fishing. In some US states fishing for paddlefish is outlawed, and other states attempt to monitor and control the annual harvest.
Paddlefish have also suffered as a result of interference with their natural habitat, in particular damming of rivers, sedimentation, pollution and poisoning of rivers and competition from introduced species. This particularly affects migration and breeding grounds.