The fish is thought to have lived at the same time as dinosaurs. It may have lived as long as 140 million years ago. Because of that, it is sometimes called a living fossil. It is an animal carefully protected by the Chinese government. It is named a "national treasure" much like the Giant Panda.
The fish can be between 200 to 500 cm (79 to 197 in) in body length. It can weigh 200 to 500 kg (440 to 1,100 lb) on average. A grown-up sturgeon measures up to 4 metres (13 ft) long, and weighs over 450 kg (990 lb). This makes it the third biggest only to the White sturgeon and Atlantic sturgeon.
Sturgeon are anadromous. This means they spawn in fresh water and migrate to salt water to mature.