Kaluga (fish)

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Kaluga
Kaluga.jpg
Mounted kaluga specimen in Khabarovsk Regional Museum, (3 m, 250 kg)
Kaluga (Huso Huso).jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Acipenseriformes
Family: Acipenseridae
Genus: Huso
Species: H. dauricus
Binomial name
Huso dauricus
(Georgi, 1775)

The kaluga (Huso dauricus) is a large predatory sturgeon found in the Amur River basin. Also known as the river beluga, they are claimed to be the largest freshwater fish in the world, with a maximum size of at least 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) and 5.6 m (18.6 ft). Local fishermen have suggested that the kaluga can grow well up to 20 ft in length and can weigh around 1,500 kg. The kaluga is one of the biggest of the sturgeon family. Like the slightly larger beluga, it spends part of its life in salt water. Unlike the beluga, this fish has numerous nail-like teeth in its jaws and feeds on salmon and other fish in the Amur by hunting them.

The kaluga has been hunted to near extinction for its valuable roe. Despite constant anti-poaching patrols, poachers still continue to catch the fish. Fishing for kaluga anywhere in the Amur River is an offense punishable by law. However, kalugas are known to have an aggressive nature, and instances of them toppling fishing boats and drowning fishermen have been reported, although no concrete evidence exists of them assaulting or hunting people.

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