Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Acipenseriformes
(Sturgeons and paddlefishes) > Acipenseridae
(Sturgeons) > Acipenserinae
Etymology: Acipenser: Latin, acipenser = sturgeon, 1853 (Ref. 45335); gueldenstaedtii: Named for Johann Anton Güldenstädt (1745-1781).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; freshwater; brackish; demersal; anadromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 2 - 100 m, usually 10 - 25 m. Temperate; 10°C - 20°C (Ref. 2059), preferred 11°C (Ref. 107945); 61°N - 35°N, 26°E - 54°E
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).
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 236 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 59043); common length : 145 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3561); max. published weight: 115.0 kg (Ref. 6866); max. reported age: 46 years (Ref. 3561)
Morphology | Morphometrics
soft rays: 16 - 35. 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.
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.
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).
Sokolov, L.I. and L.S. Berdicheskii, 1989. Acipenseridae. p. 150-153. In J. Holcík (ed.) The freshwater fishes of Europe. Vol. 1, Part II. General introduction to fishes Acipenseriformes. AULA-Verlag Wiesbaden. 469 p. (Ref. 9953)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial; aquarium: public aquariums
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00437 (0.00268 - 0.00711), b=3.12 (2.98 - 3.26), based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.3 ±0.1 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (tm=11; Fec = 26,000).
Prior r = 0.19, 2 SD range = 0.09 - 0.42, log(r) = -1.66, SD log(r) = 0.39, Based on: 1 M, 3 K, 8 tgen, 1 tmax, 5 Fec records
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (87 of 100) .