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atlantics have:

Four smaller plates usually as 2 pairs, between anal fin and caudal fulcrum, first pair may overlap base of anal fin, second pair may look like one plate; 6-9 plates, mostly in pairs, behind dorsal fin; dorsal plates 7-16; lateral plates 24-35;​

while short nose have:
One large plate between anal fin and caudal fulcrum; anal fin rays 19-22; insertion of anal fin opposite insertion of dorsal fin; gill rakers 22-29; caudal peduncle shorter, tip of anal fin reaching origin of caudal fin; dorsal plates 8-13; lateral plates 22-33; to 36 inches and 9 pounds
so the easiest way to tell is the plates between the anal and caudel fins - if it`s just one plate it`s a short nose sturgeon.

unfortunately we don`t have any white sturgeon here, i have heard people claim there are lake sturgeon here in nb but i think they were really atlantics
 

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Yup, no whites around here. Shortnose do however have a huge range of colours due to the genetic variability within the population, so one shortnose might be as black as night and the next one you catch could be pale and white. I've worked with sturgeon a fair amount and it's fascinating to see a tank full of fish with such a range of pigmentation and know they're all the same species

Oh, and I'm pretty sure Atlantics only come into the river for the purposes of spawning, and feed primarily while they're in the ocean. I know an old fisherman who has been netting them for decades and he has never found a stomach with food in it.
 
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