|Starry sturgeon range.|
The starry sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus) also known as stellate sturgeon or sevruga (Drakul, Persian: اوزون برون, and Turkish: Uzun Burun, lit. 'long nosed'), is a species of sturgeon. It is native to the Black, Azov, Caspian and Aegean sea basins, but it has been extirpated from the last and it is predicted that the remaining natural population will follow soon due to overfishing. It is considered critically endangered by the IUCN and international trade in this species (including its caviar) is restricted by CITES. The starry sturgeon is an anadromous species, which migrates up rivers to spawn.
The starry sturgeon reaches about 220 cm (7.2 ft) in length and weighs up to 80 kg (180 lb). It is a slim-bodied fish easily distinguished from other sturgeons by its long, thin and straight snout. A row of five small barbels lies closer to the mouth than to the tip of the snout. The scales on the lateral line number between thirty and forty and these features distinguish this fish from the Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii). Its general colouring is dark greyish-green or brown with a pale underside. The scales on the lateral line are pale. The maximum reported age for this species is 27 years.
The starry sturgeon is a harmless species that feeds on fish, worms, crustaceans and mollusks. It lies on the bottom during the day and feeds mostly at night. This fish is anadromous and moves upriver into shallow waters to spawn.
The starry sturgeon is an important commercial species of fish. It is one of the three most important species for caviar, see Sevruga caviar, along with the Beluga sturgeon and the Ossetra sturgeon. Its flesh is considered an expensive delicacy in the Caspian region. It is used to make kabaabs, or is consumed pan fried, broiled, or smoked. There have been several attempts in Russia, Iran, Italy, and the United States 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.
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- Media related to Acipenser stellatus at Wikimedia Commons