Acipenser stellatus Pallas, 1771
Starry sturgeon
Acipenser stellatus
photo by Hartl, A.

Family:  Acipenseridae (Sturgeons), subfamily: Acipenserinae
Max. size:  250 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 80 kg; max. reported age: 27 years
Environment:  demersal; freshwater; brackish; marine; depth range 10 - 100 m, anadromous
Distribution:  Eurasia: Caspian, Black, Azov and Aegean Seas, ascending rivers to spawn. Occurrence in Albania needs confirmation. Introduced in Aral Sea. Artificially propagated (Ref. 6866). Probably extirpated from Aegean Sea and related river basins (Ref. 113969). Appendix III of the Bern Convention (protected fauna).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 40-46; Anal 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.
Biology:  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).
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered (CR); Date assessed: 24 October 2009 (A2cde) Ref. (124695)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   
 

Entered by: Luna, Susan M. - 18.01.91
Modified by: Reyes, Rodolfo B. - 25.04.18
Checked by: Casal, Christine Marie V. - 03.01.03

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