paddlefish became Missouri's official aquatic animal
on May 23, 1997. Only three rivers in Missouri support substantial
populations of the paddlefish: the Mississippi, Missouri and
the Osage. They are also present in some of the state's larger
lakes. The paddlefish is primitive, with a cartilage skeleton,
rather than bone. They commonly exceed five feet in length and
weights of 60 pounds; 20-year olds are common, and some live
30 years or more.