Acipenser gueldenstaedtii Brandt & Ratzeburg, 1833
Danube sturgeon
photo by Hartl, A.

Family:  Acipenseridae (Sturgeons), subfamily: Acipenserinae
Max. size:  236 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 115 kg; max. reported age: 46 years
Environment:  demersal; freshwater; brackish; marine; depth range 2 - 100 m, anadromous
Distribution:  Eurasia: Black Sea, Sea of Azov and Caspian Sea basins. Introduced throughout Europe.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 27-48; Anal 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.
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.
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered (CR); Date assessed: 14 September 2019 (A2bcde) Ref. (124695)
Threat to humans:  harmless
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