Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Acipenseriformes
(Sturgeons and paddlefishes) > Acipenseridae
(Sturgeons) > Acipenserinae
Etymology: Acipenser: Latin, acipenser = sturgeon, 1853 (Ref. 45335). More on author: Pallas.
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; freshwater; brackish; demersal; anadromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 10 - 100 m. Temperate; 10°C - 20°C (Ref. 2059); 61°N - 36°N, 22°E - 54°E
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 120 - ? cm
Max length : 220 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9988); common length : 125 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3397); max. published weight: 80.0 kg (Ref. 9988); max. reported age: 27 years (Ref. 6866)
Morphology | Morphometrics
soft rays: 24 - 29. Snout long, pointed at tip. Lower lip not continuous, interrupted at center. Barbels short not reaching mouth but nearer to it than to tip of snout. Five rows of scutes, dorsal 11-14, lateral 30-36 on each side, ventral 10-11 on each side, with small bony stellate plates and smaller grains between main scute rows. Back dark grey to almost black, flanks lighter, belly white.
Eurasia: Caspian, Black, Azov and Aegean Seas, ascending rivers to spawn. Occurrence in Albania needs confirmation. Introduced in Aral Sea. Artificially propagated (Ref. 6866). Appendix III of the Bern Convention (protected fauna). International trade restricted (CITES II, since 1.4.98; CMS Appendix II).
At the sea, it occurs in coastal and estuarine zones and forages on the bottom mostly on clayey sand and intensively in the middle and upper water layers (Ref. 59043). Found mainly near shore over sand and mud, stays at the bottom during the day and rises to the surface to feed at night. Feeds mainly on fish, also mollusks, crustaceans and worms (Ref. 3193). Spawns in strong-current habitats in main course of large and deep rivers, on stone or gravel bottom. Spawning also takes place on flooded river banks and if gravel bottom is not available, on sand or sandy clay. Juveniles stay in shallow riverine habitats during first summer (Ref. 59043). One of the three most important species for caviar; also utilized fresh and frozen; eaten pan-fried, broiled and baked (Ref. 9988). Overfishing at the sea for meat and caviar will soon cause extinction of the natural populations and their survival can only depend on stocking (Ref. 59043).
Bauchot, M.-L., 1987. Poissons osseux. p. 891-1421. In W. Fischer, M.L. Bauchot and M. Schneider (eds.) Fiches FAO d'identification pour les besoins de la pêche. (rev. 1). Méditerranée et mer Noire. Zone de pêche 37. Vol. II. Commission des Communautés Européennes and FAO, Rome.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial; aquarium: public aquariums
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00492 (-0.11746 - 0.12730), b=3.10 (3.03 - 3.17), based on LWR estimates for species & genus-BS (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.1 ±0.3 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.06; tm=9; tmax=27; Fec=20,000-360,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High vulnerability (64 of 100) .