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  Family Polyodontidae  

Family Polyodontidae--Paddlefish Family

Paddlefish have a skeleton made of cartilage, even though they are considered bony fishes. The mouth is located on the bottom of the paddle-shaped snout. Two small barbels are found on the bottom of the snout as well.

paddlefish -- Polyodon spathula
The paddlefish is found in the slow-flowing waters of large rivers, usually in water over four feet deep. It may leap out of the water. The paddlefish filters food, mainly plankton, from the water with its gill rakers as it swims. Spawning happens in the spring and requires flooding of silt-free gravel bars for several days. Maturity is attained when seven years old. A paddlefish may live for more than 20 years and reach a length of over seven feet.

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