Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Acipenseriformes
(Sturgeons and paddlefishes) > Polyodontidae
Etymology: Psephurus: Greek, psephas, -aos = dark + Greek, oura = tail (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; freshwater; brackish; demersal; anadromous (Ref. 117880); depth range - m (Ref. ), usually - m (Ref. ). Subtropical; 0°C -
Asia: China, endemic to the Yangtze River and its tributaries.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 300 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 28581); max. published weight: 300.0 kg (Ref. 28581)
Head very long, snout extraordinarily long, pointed and paddle-like and base broad; mouth very large.
This species is considered anadromous for it spends at least part of its life in the sea and migrates upriver to reproduce. It occurs in broad surfaced main streams of large rivers, usually staying in the middle and lower layers of the water column and occasionally swims into large lakes. Spawning period is in March and April with spawning sites located in the upper reaches of the Changjiang River but was also reported to take place in the lower Jinsha River between Shuifu and Yibin (Ref. 117880). It grows to 3 m in length and 300 kg in weight (Ref. 28581). Reported length of 7 m SL (Ref. 6866) and 500 kg weight (Ref. 4537, 58490) are doubtful (Paxton, pers. comm.). Piscivorous throughout most of its life. Threatened due to over harvesting and habitat loss (Ref. 58490). Expected number of mature individuals in the wild, less than 50, but more extensive surveys are needed across its range to confirm its existence; last seen in 2003 (Ref. 117880).
Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea and W.B. Scott, 1991. World fishes important to North Americans. Exclusive of species from the continental waters of the United States and Canada. Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. (21):243 p. (Ref. 4537)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 124695)
Threat to humans
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 1.2500 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00513 (0.00197 - 0.01335), b=3.10 (2.88 - 3.32), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 4.2 ±0.73 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (tm=5-15).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (87 of 100) .