Articles on this page are available in 1 other language: Arabic (14) (learn more)

Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Anadromous and freshwater populations exist. At the sea, it occurs in shallow coastal and estuarine zones. In freshwaters, it inhabits deep parts of large rivers with moderate to swift current (Ref. 59043). Found mainly near the shore over sand and mud. Usually solitary, but swarms when hibernating or during spawning migrations. Occasionally forms schools (Ref. 3241). Feeds on benthic molluscs, crustaceans and small fishes. Spawns on stone or gravel bottom in large and deep rivers with strong current, 1-1.5 m/s (Ref. 59043). Mainly propagated through artificial reproduction.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Range Description

This species is known from the Caspian, Black and Azov Sea basins. Aquaculture has resulted in intentional and accidental introductions throughout Europe.

It is currently only known from the Caspian Sea, where it spawns in the rivers Ural and Volga, and the Black Sea where spawning occurs in the lower Danube and Rioni rivers (last recorded in the Rioni in 1999 (Kolman & Zarkua 2002)). There is no native spawning population remaining in the Sea of Azov, only introduced (stocked) individuals. The species reproduction within the Kura is debated (Vecsei 2001).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Eurasia: Black Sea, Sea of Azov and Caspian Sea, entering all main rivers that empty into them (Don, Kuban, Danube, Dnieper (rare), Dniester) (Ref. 9953). Introduced throughout Europe. Considered critically endangered (Ref. 59043). International trade restricted (CITES II, since 1.4.98; CMS Appendix II).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Eastern Atlantic, Europe and Middle East: Basins of Black, Azov and Caspian seas and Sea of Marmara and adjacent watersheds.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© FishWise Professional

Source: FishWise Professional

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 27 - 48; Analsoft rays: 16 - 35
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Size

Maximum size: 2110 mm TL
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© FishWise Professional

Source: FishWise Professional

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Max. size

236 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 59043)); max. published weight: 115.0 kg (Ref. 6866); max. reported age: 46 years (Ref. 3561)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Diagnostic Description

Under the name A. g. colchicus. Lower lip not continuous, interrupted at center. Five rows of scutes: dorsal 7-19, lateral 24-44 on each side, ventral 6-13 on each side, with lines of smaller stellate bony plates between the dorsal and ventral rows. Color of back olivaceous grey, flanks lighter, and belly white.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Habitat: At sea, shallow coastal and estuarine zones. In freshwaters, in deep parts of large rivers with moderate to swift current. Spawns in strong current (1-1.5 m/s) in large and deep rivers on stone or gravel bottom.

Biology: Anadromous and freshwater populations (freshwater populations existed in the Danube and Volga - both are now extinct). A complicated pattern of spawning migrations includes spring and autumn runs. Individuals migrating in spring enter freshwater just before spawning; they tend to spawn in lower reaches of rivers (320-650 km in the unregulated Ural). Individuals migrating in autumn overwinter in rivers and spawn the following spring further upstream (900-1200 km in the Ural).

Males reproduce for the first time at 8-13 years, females at 10-16. Generation length (average age of parents of current cohort) is estimated to be 15 years under natural circumstances, but due to the impacts this species is facing the generation length ranges from between 12 years in the Caspian Sea to over 20 in the Danube. Females reproduce every 4-6 years and males every 2-3 years in April-June, when the temperature rises above 10°C. Larvae drift on currents; juveniles then move towards shallower habitats, before migrating to the sea during their first summer. They remain at sea until maturity. The Russian Sturgeon feeds on a wide variety of benthic molluscs, crustaceans and small fish.

Systems
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Environment

demersal; anadromous (Ref. 51243); freshwater; brackish; marine; depth range 1 - ? m
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Migration

Anadromous. Fish that ascend rivers to spawn, as salmon and hilsa do. Sub-division of diadromous. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

Under the name A. g. colchicus. Usually solitary, but swarms when hibernating or during migrations.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Under the name A. g. colchicus. Spawns in rivers. Natural spawning not extensive, maintained chiefly by artificial propagation. Enters rivers from April to June (a few in autumn).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Acipenser gueldenstaedtii

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 27
Specimens with Barcodes: 110
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Barcode data: Acipenser gueldenstaedtii

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 11 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACCCGTTGATTCTTTTCTACTAACCACAAAGATATTGGCACCCTGTATTTAGTATTTGGTGCCTGAGCAGGCATAGTCGGCACAGCCCTC---AGCCTTCTGATCCGTGCCGAACTGAGCCAACCCGGTGCCCTGCTTGGCGAT---GATCAGATCTACAATGTTATCGTTACAGCCCACGCCTTTGTCATGATTTTCTTTATAGTAATACCCATCATAATTGGCGGATTCGGAAACTGACTGGTCCCCCTAATA---ATTGGGGCCCCAGACATGGCATTTCCTCGCATGAACAATATGAGCTTCTGACTCCTACCCCCATCCTTCCTACTCCTTTTAGCCTCCTCTGGGGTAGAGGCCGGAGCCGGCACAGGGTGAACTGTTTACCCTCCACTGGCGGGAAACCTGGCCCATGCAGGAGCCTCTGTAGACCTA---ACCATTTTCTCCCTTCACCTGGCTGGGGTTTCGTCCATTTTGGGGGCTATTAATTTTATTACCACCATTATTAACATGAAACCCCCCGCAGTATCCCAATATCAAACACCTCTATTTGTGTGATCTGTATTAATCACGGCCGTACTCCTCCTACTATCACTGCCAGTGCTAGCTGCA---GGGATCACAATGCTCCTAACAGACCGAAATTTAAACACCACCTTCTTTGACCCAGCCGGAGGAGGAGACCCCATCCTCTACCAACACCTATTTTGATTCTTTGGCCACCCAGAGGTATATATTCTAATTCTACCGGGATTCGGCATAATCTCCCATATTGTGGCATACTATGCCGGCAAAAAG---GAACCTTTTGGCTACATAGGGATAGTATGAGCTATAATGGCCATTGGGCTACTAGGCTTTATCGTATGAGCTCATCACATGTTTACAGTTGGAATGGACGTAGACACACGGGCCTACTTTACCTCCGCCACAATAATTATTGCCATCCCCACAGGTGTCAAAGTCTTTAGCTGATTG---GCCACCCTTCATGGTGGT---TCAATTAAATGAGATACCCCTCTACTTTGAGCCTTAGGCTTTATCTTCCTATTCACAGTGGGAGGCTTAACGGGAATTGTCTTAGCCAACTCGTCTCTAGATATTGTACTTCACGACACCTACTACGTTGTAGCACATTTCCACTATGTA---TTATCAATGGGAGCTGTGTTCGCCATTATAGGGGCCTTCGTACACTGATTCCCGCTTTTCACGGGTTATACACTACACGGCACCTGATCCAAAATCCACTTTGCCGTAATATTTGTAGGTGTCAATCTAACATTCTTCCCCCAACACTTCCTAGGCCTCGCAGGAATGCCTCGC---CGATACTCAGACTACCCAGACGCATACGCC---CTATGAAACACCGTCTCCTCAATCGGCTCACTAATCTCATTAGTTGCTGTGATTATATTCCTATTTATTCTGTGAGAAGCATTCGCGGCTAAACGAGAAGTA---ATGTCAGTAGAACTAACAACCACAAAT
-- end --

Download FASTA File
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2bcde

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
Gesner, J., Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M.

Reviewer/s
Pourkazemi, M. & Smith, K.

Contributor/s

Justification
The species is now very rare in the Black Sea basin where almost all of the species' spawning sites have been lost due to dam construction, except in the lower Danube river where some spawning still exists (see Juvenile Spawning Index) but individuals are rare. The Caspian basin has lost 70% of spawning grounds since the 1950s mainly due to hydroelectric power stations; flow regulation of the Kuban has led to the loss of 140,000 ha and damming of the river Don removed 68,000 ha spawning ground (CITES 2000).

The last natural population still migrates up the Danube and the Rioni (last recorded in Rioni in 1999), where the sturgeons are heavily overfished and poached. The Caspian populations are also under massive pressure from overfishing and loss of spawning habitats. Almost all migrating spawners are poached below the Volgograd dam. The Ural river still has spawning individuals.

It is estimated that the species' wild native population has undergone a massive population decline of over 90% in the past three generations (estimated at 45 years). This is based on the 88.5% decline in global catches of the species in just 15 years despite large levels of stocking (average global catch from 1992-1999 was 1,531.75 tonnes; from 2000-2007 it was 175.37 tonnes), the 92.5% decline in estimated spawning stock biomass in the Volga from 1961-65 to 1998-2000, the 88% decline in the average number of spawners entering the lower Volga from the 1962-75 average to the 1992-2002 average, and the decline in the Juvenile Production Index from Romanian Danube.

This decline is predicted to continue as illegal fishing at sea, and in rivers, for caviar will soon result in the extinction of the remaining natural wild population. In the immediate future, survival can only depend on stocking.

History
  • 1996
    Endangered
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
The species wild native population has undergone major decline which is currently occurring. But due to the large levels of stocking (particularly Russia and Iran) the exact levels are unknown. According to CITES (2000) Russia released 25 million fingerlings into the Vologa between 1979-80, 35 million between 1981-85, 40.8 million between 1986-90, 42 million between 1991-95 and 28 million 1996-98; Iran released 300,000 fingerlings in 1994 which has risen nearly every year to 960,000 in 1999.

Despite this level of stocking, fisheries catches have fallen, particularly from the early 1990s in the Caspian. According to FAO fisheries statistics (FAO 2009) global catches fell from 4,250 tonnes in 1992 (first available catch data) to 67 tonnes in 2007 (last available catch data), a decline of 98% in 15 years. The average catch from 1992-1999 (8 year period) was 1,531.75 tonnes, whereas the average catch from 2000-2007 (8 year period) was 175.37 tonnes, a decline of 88.5%.

Data from the Caspian Sea (Khodorevskaya et al. 2009) shows similar declines: catches were between 6,000 and 9,000 tonnes per year in the 1960s to a peak of around 14,500 tonnes in the late 1970s early 1980s to less than 1,000 per year from 2000 to 2008. The estimated spawning stock biomass in the Volga has also drastically declined, from 13,200 tonnes (1961-65) and 22,200 tonnes (1966-70) to 1,000 tonnes (1996-97) and 1,000 tonnes (1998-2002). Average number of spawners (1,000 individuals) passing fishery zones to the spawning grounds in the lower Volga (per year) has declined by 88% from the 1962-75 average to the 1992-2002 average.

Romanian catch data (Danube) shows that in 2002, 3,726 kg was caught; in 2003, 1,499 kg; in 2004, 440 kg; and in 2005, 37 kg, showing a 99% decline in just four years (Paraschiv et al. 2006). A Juvenile Production Index (evidence of breeding) for the Danube (Romania) also shows a decline: CPUE was just over 0.7 in 2000, < 0.2 in 2001, 0.3 in 2002, 0 in 2003, < 0.1 in 2004, 0.1 in 2005, 0 in 2006, < 0.05 in 2007 and 0 in 2008. (CPUE = number of Young of the Year - number of < 1 year olds caught - from natural recruitment captured in one netting (Suciu 2008, pers. comm.; Paraschiv et al. 2006; Knight et al. 2010).

Population Trend
Decreasing
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
Most spawning sites have been lost due to dam construction. The Caspian basin lost 70% of spawning grounds since the 1950s, mainly due to the construction of hydroelectric power stations; the Ural is now the only river in the basin with unregulated flow. Flow regulation of the Kuban River has led to the loss of 140,000 ha, and damming of the river Don has removed 68,000 ha spawning ground. For example, in the Yugoslavian section of the Danube, the annual catch dropped from 14,636 kg in 1983 to 1,636 kg in 1985 (a decline of just under 90%), this is believed to be due to the construction of the Djerdap (Irongate) II dam which was constructed in 1984, leaving no accessible spawning grounds for the species in the upstream reaches and in former Yugoslavia (CITES 2000).

Poaching and illegal fishing, which appears to be increasing, is also a threat to the species. Enforcement of legislation regulating the fishery for the species appear to be lacking. In the Caspian Sea and Sea of Azov the illegal sturgeon catch for all species was evaluated to be 6 to 10 times the legal catch (CITES 2000). Bycatch is also a threat to the species (in both marine and freshwater).

High levels of pollution (from oil and industrial waste), in both the Black and Caspian Sea basins have altered hormonal balance, and increased the number of hermaphroditic fish. Pollution levels are now decreasing since the break up of the Soviet Union (Levin, 1977 in CITES 2000). In 1990, 55,000 sturgeon were found dead on the shore of the Sea of Azov as the result of pollution.

Genetic pollution is also a potential threat as stocks are moved to different locations (e.g. Caspian stocks moved to Sea of Azov).

The Allee affect is also a potential threat to the species.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Critically Endangered (CR) (A2bcde)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Restocking measures are ongoing, however stocks are continuing to decline. In the early 1990s, between 30-55% of the Caspian stock reportedly originated from hatcheries (Barannikova 1995 in CITES 2000, Khodorevskaya et al. 2000). In Russia, between 1991 and 1998, 70 million fry of A. gueldenstaedtii were released in the Volga river and just over 32 million fry into the Sea of Azov.

The species is not fully protected in any range state, though licenses are required in most countries and Iran has banned private sturgeon fisheries. Overall, however, enforcement measures seem to be lacking. Fish lifts and artificial spawning grounds have been introduced to parts of the Caspian region (CITES 2000) without much success. This species was listed on CITES Appendix II in 1998.

Gene bank of live specimens and cryopreservation is ongoing in Russia and Iran.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial; aquarium: public aquariums
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© FishBase

Source: FishBase

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Russian sturgeon

The Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii), also known as the diamond sturgeon or Danube sturgeon, is a species of fish in the Acipenseridae family. It is found in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine. It is also found in the Caspian Sea. [1] This fish can grow up to about 235 cm (93 in) and weigh 115 kg (254 lb). Russian sturgeon can not mature and reproduce quickly, making them highly vulnerable to fishing. It is distinguished from other Acipenser species by its short snout with a rounded tip as well as its lower lip which is interrupted at its center.

Description[edit]

Upper and lower side of head

The Russian sturgeon can grow to 210 cm (83 in) but a more normal size is 110 to 140 cm (43 to 55 in). It has a relatively short and rounded snout with three pairs of unfringed barbels closer to the tip of the snout that to the mouth. The dorsal fin has 27 to 48 soft rays and the anal fin has 16 to 35. The number of scales along the lateral line varies from 21 to 50. This fish can be distinguish from the otherwise similar starry sturgeon by the shape of its snout, its barbels and scale arrangement. The upper surface is greyish-green, the lateral scales are pale and the belly white.[2][3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Russian sturgeon is native to the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Caspian Sea. It is an anadromous fish and moves into the river systems that drain into these seas in order to make its way to spawning areas upstream. It is usually found near the bottom in fairly shallow water over sandy or muddy substrates.[3]

Biology[edit]

The Russian sturgeon feeds on crustaceans, molluscs and small fishes such as gobies, anchovies and sprats. It is solitary when in the sea but becomes gregarious as it moves up-river in April, May and June to spawn.[3]

See also[edit]

  • Beluga (which lives in the same area, being famous for its roe – caviar)

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Mughal, Muhammad Aurang Zeb. 2013. Caspian Sea. Robert Warren Howarth (ed.), Biomes & Ecosystems. Ipswich, MA: Salem Press, pp. 37-39.
  2. ^ "Russian sturgeon: Acipenser gueldenstaedti (Brandt)". NatureGate. Retrieved 2013-12-25. 
  3. ^ a b c "Danube sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedti)". Fishes of the NE Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Marine Species Identification Portal. Retrieved 2013-12-25. 
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!