A paddlefish is a freshwater fish related to the sturgeon. It is found in the Mississippi River and related tributaries. Paddlefish have a unique paddle-shapped appendage that contains electrical sensors that allow them to detect and capture zooplankton.
It was discovered by Europeans during the expedition of Ponce de Leon.
Efforts have been made to farm paddlefish for meat and caviar production. They can be kept in the same ponds as catfish, another popular aquaculture species. Since they feed differently, they get along well and increase the efficiency of the system.
Paddlefish use a phenonomenon called stochastic resonance to increase the effectiveness of their sensory systems. A low level of background noise makes them better than they are during times of complete silence.
The United States Navy has funded research into paddlefish in order to increase the fighting effectiveness of its submarines and destroyers.