Starry sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus)
Starry sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus) picture by Zsoldos Marton
The Starry sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus), also known as Drakul and (Turkish) Uzun Burun (long nosed), is a species of sturgeons, living in the Black, Azov, and Caspian sea basins. It is rare in the Adriatic Sea. It reaches 220 cm (over 7 feet) and weighs up to 80 kg (approximately 180 Lbs). The maximum reported age for this species is 27 years. The starry sturgeon is a harmless species.
It is an important commercial species. It is one of the three most important species for caviar along with the Beluga sturgeon and the Persian sturgeon. Its flesh is considered an expensive delicacy in the Caspian region. It is used to make kababs, or is consumed pan fried, broiled, or smoked. There have been several attempts in Russia, Iran, Italy, and the US to adapt this species for aquaculture, with varying degrees of success.
The resilience of this species is low. The minimum population doubling time is 4.5 - 14 years.
The starry sturgeon is an endangered species and trade in products made from its body parts are restricted by CITES
Demersal; anadromous; lives in depth ranging between 10 - 100 m. Prefers temperature between 10 - 20°C. It is mainly found 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.
It has a dark grey to almost black back. The flanks are lighter, the belly is almost white. Morphology: 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.
Common Names: Sevruga, Star Sturgeon, Starry Sturgeon, Stellate Sturgeon, Stellatus