Fish and other aquatic creatures

Fish sturgeon: description, habitat and main species


Sturgeon species of fish are distinguished by the fact that they live in saline, sea water, and are sent to spawn in rivers with fresh water or to other water bodies for spawning. At the same time, it should be noted that sturgeon have representatives of not big sizes, from 30 to 100 cm long and weighing half a kilogram to 5 kg, as well as representatives growing up to 10 meters in length, weighing about 3 tons. The catch of sturgeon fish in our time is a serious fishing, reaching large volumes. Because of this, the population of these species of fish is constantly decreasing, and some of the species are prohibited to fish at all. Sturgeon is appreciated for its tasty and valuable meat, as well as caviar.

Structure and characteristics

The sturgeon family is distinguished by an elongated body shape, on which there are 5 rows of hard bone spikes. Two rows are located on the belly, two on each side and one row on the back, and in the gap between them are bone protective plates.

The sturgeon is characterized by a cone-shaped, somewhat elongated snout, in the form of a shovel. On the underside is a mouth, with fleshy lips and four mustaches. The structure of the jaw is different retractable form, on which there are no teeth.

The pectoral fin is distinguished by the form of a “spike” with thickening, while the dorsal fin is somewhat shifted back. The swim bladder is connected to the esophagus and is located below the spine. The skeleton of fish is characterized by a cartilaginous, invertebrate structure in the form of a chord. The membranes of 4 gills are connected in the throat area. In addition, there are 2 additional accessory gills.

General information

Almost all species of sturgeon, before the spawning process, move to small depths of freshwater bodies. Sturgeon are quite prolific, since adult individuals are able to lay up to 1 million eggs. Most spawning occurs in spring. Some species of sturgeon not only spawn in fresh waters, but quite often they wait out the winter. Sturgeons prefer the near-bottom way of life, feeding on worms, small fish, insects, and also mollusks.

Sexual maturity

Sturgeon fish species, to be exact about 20 species, belong to long-livers, since they can live up to 100 years, although this concerns only one species. The life span of other species does not exceed 60 years. The period of maturity in many species occurs in different periods, depending on the conditions of existence and the availability of food supply. Some of the species begin to spawn at 15 years of age. Wherein:

  • Females mature at the age of 10-12 years.
  • Males ready for fertilization, starting from 7 years of age.

Sturgeon are species of fish that grow quickly and gain weight quickly. In the rivers of the Don and the Dnieper sturgeon ripen somewhat faster than the representatives living in the Volga. This is not surprising, since the climate in the Volga is somewhat colder.


Each year only the sterlet spawns, and the other species do not differ by this feature and can spawn after a year, or even two. They throw their caviar in the spring-summer period in fresh rivers, which are distinguished by a swift current. Sturgeon caviar has a high adhesiveness, therefore, firmly held on pebbles and other rocks.

Sturgeon fry, appearing on the light, are in the yolk bladder, which is what they feed on in the first days, until this bag has resolved. After that, they start an independent search for food. Sometimes they linger in places of birth, but mostly they roll into the sea. The diet of fry consists of zooplankton, after the end of a certain period, a little mature, their diet consists of:

But as for the beluga fry, they are born without a yolk bladder and immediately begin to look for food on their own. Almost to adulthood, sturgeons develop in saline, seawater. There are 2 types of sturgeon: winter and spring. The last species enter the rivers in spring, before spawning, and the first species enters the rivers in the fall, winter in these bodies of water, and lay eggs in the spring.

Russian sturgeon

This fish is distinguished by its spindle-shaped body shape, which ends in a blunt snout. There are whiskers at the ends of the mouth. The belly of the Russian sturgeon is white, the sides are gray-brown, and the back is dark gray. It can grow in length up to 3 and a half meters and weigh up to 120 kg. Can live almost 60 years. In its natural habitat, this fish can create a cross between beluga, sterlet, stellate sturgeon and thorn. In fact, this happens very rarely, but the hybrids still come across. Habitat - the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov.

It grows up to one and a half meters in length and gains weight up to 4.5 kg. It has a flat and rather long tail with bony fins. It features a large swim bladder and small eyes. Mostly found in the Amu Darya river basin.

Siberian sturgeon

Numerous bone plates and fulcry are placed on the body of this fish. There are no teeth, while the mouth is retractable, and in front of it there are 4 tendrils. This fish inhabits the basins of such rivers as the Ob, Yenisei, Kolyma and Lena. Siberian sturgeon lives for almost 50 years, growing to a length of up to 3 and a half meters and gaining a weight of about 150 kg. Spawns in the month of July. The diet includes organisms residing at the bottom of reservoirs: mollusks, chiromid larvae and polychaete worms. In other words, this fish leads a near-bottom lifestyle.

Differs classic appearance inherent in sturgeon. On the body there are 5 rows of bone spines. Habitat - basins of the Aral, Caspian, Azov and Black seas.

Habitats are common with such a member of the sturgeon family as the spike. At the same time, they distinguish spring and winter sturgeon. Characteristic features of the structure of the body are: poorly developed lower jaw, bulging forehead, long nose, smooth and thin mustache. Almost the whole body is covered with protective bone plates. The belly of the stellate sturgeon is white, and the sides and back are blue-black. It can grow up to 6 meters in length and weigh about 60 kg.

This is the smallest member of this family, as it grows no more than 120 cm in length, with a weight of 20 kg. The fish is characterized by the presence of long whiskers, which reach the mouth and narrow, but elongated nose. In this case, the lower lip is divided into 2 parts, and on the sides of the body is covered with solid shields. The same shields protect the fish from the back. Depending on the habitat, the sterlet can differ in different colors, although its main coloring is a yellow-white belly and a gray-brown back. All fins have a gray tint. There are pointed sterlet and stupid. Habitat - the northern regions of Siberia.

The nutritional value

It has long been believed that sturgeon fish is a delicacy fish, distinguished by its special taste characteristics. It is sold fresh, live, frozen, smoked and chilled. Sturgeon serve as an initial product for preparation of a balyk and various canned food. Sale of sturgeon, in salt form, is prohibited, since a pathogenic anaerob - botulinus, which is a source of acute poisoning, is found in sturgeon meat.

In the old days, only sturgeon species were referred to red fish, such as beluga, sterlet, stellate sturgeon and sturgeon. Moreover, they called it red not because it had a pink shade of meat, but for its excellent taste and very healthy caviar. In our time, the status of red fish is more entrenched for salmon species. Therefore, salmon, pink and chum salmon are also called red fish. Most likely, this is due to the fact that salmon in our time left much more, compared with sturgeon.

Sturgeons have their own distinctive trading and culinary classification, depending on the habitat. The first group includes the sturgeon species that are found in the Black and Caspian Seas. The first category includes: beluga, sterlet, thorn, sturgeon and stellate sturgeon. The second category includes salmon, such as trout, pink salmon or chum. The latter group includes salmon with white meat, such as coho salmon, white salmon, white salmon and taimen.

Red fish is appreciated for the large range of nutrients found in meat. These include the vitamins A, B, E, PP and D, as well as minerals such as zinc, phosphorus, calcium, fluorine and iodine. Besides - this list is not complete. But the main advantage is the presence in the meat of this fish fatty acids, such as Omega-3. Due to the presence of this acid, the functioning of the central nervous system improves, immunity improves, memory improves, etc.

Scientists have shown that the category of people who regularly consume red fish is less prone to manifestations of depression, and the risks of hypertension or oncology in them are reduced by 3 times. Therefore, in our time, some species of both sturgeon and salmon are banned from commercial fishing. Their fishing is allowed only under special licenses. This also applies to amateur fishing. Serious fines are imposed for unauthorized fishing. Unfortunately, poachers do not stop these measures.

General description of the family

Sturgeon belongs to the class of ray-finned fish, a subclass of cartilage ganoids. This is a very large (up to 6 meters) fish, its weight can reach 800 kg. In the fossil form, sturgeons are known from the Cretaceous, that is, 70–80 million years ago. They were distributed very widely, as evidenced by the location of modern species across the planet.

The main difference in the sturgeon family of fish is the absence of a bone skeleton. This fish, one of the oldest on earth, has a chord instead of the spine, and keeps it throughout its life.

What does sturgeon and other members of this family look like? can be represented by the main external features:

  • The body is elongated, spindle-shaped, the scales are completely absent, on the sides there are longitudinal bands of bone plates, usually 10–20 pieces depending on age. These scutes do not grow closer to the tail, which is also their distinctive feature of this fish.
  • The head is small, cone-shaped, on the nose there are four antennae, on the gill cover there is a rudimentary sprigala. There are no teeth in the mouth. An interesting fact is that the fry have them, but then they fall out. Lips - fleshy soft cartilage.
  • Instead of scales on the skin of sturgeon chaotically arranged plates in the form of stars. The front pectoral fins are very stiff. The rays of the tail fin round the end of the tail.
  • The body of the sturgeon is gray, the sides have a brown tint, and the belly is of a lighter color.
  • The swimming bladder is large and developed.
  • Caviar is small, black, in one individual may contain more than a million eggs.

The sturgeon family is not only one of the most ancient, but also the most long-lived fish. Their life expectancy is the same as that of a person. There are real long-livers, whose age is more than 100 years. How much sturgeon lives depends on its species. Some of them live only 40–60 years, but there is information describing large deep-seated individuals that have lived to 150 years.

Main habitat

For many, the question is difficult: sturgeon - sea or river fish. Definitely its membership is impossible to determine. Most species of sturgeon feel great in any water, but for spawning they need a fast flow of rivers and a hard rocky or sandy bottom.

Sturgeon habitats are divided into the following types:

  • freshwater or inhabited - the most common species that constantly lives in the fresh water of rivers and lakes of the temperate zone,
  • migratory species are those species that enter rivers for spawning or for the winter period,
  • semi-passage - a species of sturgeon living in the Atlantic waters of Europe and America, has the ability to breed in both salt and fresh water.

The places where sturgeon lives should be rich in food, which for him are mollusks, crayfish and crustaceans, mysids, worms, lamprey and fish.

The most famous representatives

The sturgeon family includes 17 species., most of them are extremely rare, some are listed in the Red Book:

  1. Siberian sturgeon. Primordially Russian species of sturgeon family. Very large freshwater fish, up to two meters, weighing about 200 kg. It lives in Siberian rivers: Ob, Lena, Angara and Lake Baikal.
  2. White sturgeon. A large representative of the sturgeon genus. With a length of 6 meters there are individuals weighing about 800 kg. Only his beluga is larger than him. White sturgeon is found in the Pacific Ocean off the western shores of America, refers to the semi-passage, because it can spawn in both saline and fresh water streams and rivers.
  3. Russian sturgeon. As a result of the arbitrariness of the poachers, this species was almost completely destroyed. It has high taste qualities of meat and caviar, is the main source of their production and is artificially bred for this purpose. The main habitats are the Black, Caspian and Azov Seas. To restore the Russian sturgeon population, special fish farms are being opened. Frys grown in artificial reservoirs, as they grow older, are released into the natural environment to replenish stocks of valuable and tasty fish. The average weight of Russian sturgeon is 20 kg, length - 2 meters.
  4. Sakhalin sturgeon. Rare species, little studied, listed in the Red Book. Externally, it differs from its relatives by a greenish color and a dull face. Fish checkpoint. Constantly lives in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk and the Sea of ​​Japan, swims in the fresh waters of the Amur River to spawn.
  5. Beluga. The largest fish of sturgeon, due to the depletion of stocks listed in the Red Book. There is information that there were individuals that reached the weight of 75 pounds (1200 kg), only one calf in them was about 150 kg. Its main habitat is the Caspian Sea.
  6. Sterlet. Fully exterminated and restored on the basis of the description and drawings by breeding breed of sturgeon that lives in the seas of the Arctic Ocean, rivers of central Russia and the Caspian Sea. Small (up to two kg.) Fish of commercial value, most often used for breeding in artificial ponds and lakes.
  7. Spike. Valuable, but almost destroyed species of sturgeon. The sizes are average, tastes are high. Found in the Caspian Sea, spawns in the Volga. Actively reproduced by artificial means.
  8. Stellate sturgeon. A deep-sea fish passing through, diving at a depth of 100 meters, having a great commercial value. The sizes are average, weight is 5-10 kg.
  9. In addition to the most famous ones listed above, there are 9 more sturgeon species living in the northern seas of Russia, on the west coast of North America, in the seas of Korea, China and Australia.

Commercial value of sturgeon

Sturgeon - a delicious and expensive delicacygood in any form. Ear of sturgeon or starlet - a classic of Russian gourmet cuisine. And also it is fried, stewed, salted, smoked, dried. Russia is the largest supplier of sturgeon meat in the world market.

Black caviar - valuable, healthy, high-calorie product. Small black caviar is the main difference of the sturgeon family from other red fish species.

Large swim bladders are used to make fish glue.

Wizigi - productThe food is made from sturgeon dorsal strings.

A very important quality of most species of sturgeon - they are suitable for artificial breeding. This allows you to control the population size, to prevent the disappearance of rare and small breeds. In addition, as a result of numerous experiments on breeding, it was possible to obtain the most viable hybrids with the best taste and commercial properties.

Artificial reproduction - the path to the development of the fish industry and the expansion of industrial production of sturgeon meat and black caviar, which is important for maintaining Russia's position on the world market for fish products.

Sturgeon family: fish species and their features

In addition to the main species, there is a wide variety of hybrid varieties, as they easily form hybrids, mating in breeding grounds. Regardless of the type of fish, they spawn only in rivers with a fast current and water saturated with oxygen, the bottom of which is strewn with pebbles, stones and sand. The sturgeon breeds several times in a lifetime (but not every year) at a temperature of 15-20 ° C, therefore only the spring-summer period is suitable for this.

Young representatives of migratory migrants (stellate sturgeon, beluga, Russian and Atlantic sturgeon, thorn) leave after leaving eggs to the foreflow area in the same summer with adults, but some of the young thorn and Russian sturgeon can linger in the river for a year or more. The capacious yolk sac present in the fry contains the nutrients due to which they live for the first time. After its resorption, they start feeding on their own: they first eat planktonic crustaceans (daphnia and cyclops), and then switch to gammaride, mizyd, chironomid larvae and oligochaeta.

Sturgeon migratory species are divided into winter and spring forms within each species, the degree of differentiation of which depends on the size of the river: in large water streams (for example, the Volga and the Urals), both forms are pronounced, in smaller ones spring ones are dominant, inferior in size to winter ones. Последняя для нереста заходит в реки с конца лета и осенью, поднимаясь высоко, зимует в ямах, а икру мечет весной следующего года. Яровая раса поднимается в реки ранней весной, но не высоко, и начинает сразу размножаться, достигнув нерестилища.

Самый большой представитель осетровых, длина которого может достигать 5 метров и веса более 1 тонны, живет дольше всех – до 100 лет. Известны археологические находки средневековых белуг, размер которых превышал 6 м. Fishermen of that time often died when a similar giant came into their gear.

There are Black Sea and Azov subspecies, which, like all migratory species, also have winter and spring forms, prevailing depending on which river the population spawns in. Azov individuals - females at 12-14 years of age reach sexual maturity, and males - at 16-18. The remaining species are much later - 14-23 and 17-26 years, respectively. Beluga is the most prolific fish. The largest females slaughter eggs to 7.7 million units

It belongs to the largest freshwater fish. Its length reaches 3.7 m, weight - 380 kg, and this representative of the fauna lives up to 55 years. The mature Kaluga becomes very late: males - at the age of 17-18, females - from 18 to 22 years. The fish is extremely prolific: the number of eggs sometimes reaches 4.1 million. By the way, the types of sturgeon caviar are different: pressed and granular. So at Kaluga it reaches 4 mm in diameter. There are two forms of this giant: the fast-growing estuary (a semi-walkway spawning in the Amur) and a river, smaller, forming local little moving herds in the river.

This is a pronounced predator: the estuary form feeds on salmon (chum salmon, pink salmon), when they go to spawn in the Amur, but due to the decline in their livestock, Kaluga is seen in cannibalism. The river subspecies eats small bottom fish such as minnows.

The smallest freshwater sturgeon representative: reaches 1.2 m in length and up to 16 kg in weight. Sterlet has the largest number of side scutes (more than 50) and fringed antennae, which distinguishes it from other sturgeons. Another feature of this fish is the changeable shape of the snout, due to which two forms are distinguished - acute and blunt. The latter grows faster, is more well-fed, has greater fertility than the acutely kin. This distinction is also characteristic of other freshwater sturgeons - Amur and Siberian.

Males become capable of breeding in 4-5 years, females - in 4-9. The number of eggs depends on the size of the females, like in other sturgeons, and reaches a maximum of 140 thousand in the Volga, the largest sterlet.

Like all species of sturgeon, it has distinctive features: it can be easily identified by a very long snout (over 60% of the head) in the shape of a sword. This is a passing species, dominated by the spring race, reaching 2.2 m in length and weighing 80 kg. It is the most thermophilic among migratory species, therefore it goes on spawning later than others when the water temperature is more appropriate (spring course at 10-14 ° С, autumn - 13-17 ° С). Males mature at 8-11 years old, and females from 10 to 14. The population of Azov starred sturgeon grows more quickly and matures earlier. The most prolific fish is the Ural. She throws up to 743 000. eggs.

Having finished spawning, immediately, without lingering in the river, it swims away into the sea, where it eats Nereis and crustaceans. It ranks first in the sturgeon fishery. The main amount of stellate sturgeon is mined in the Urals.

Atlantic sturgeon

This is a large sturgeon, reaching 3 m in length and weighing more than 200 kg. It has massive bugs on its body with a radially striated surface, and in the pectoral fin there is a powerful bone ray. Unfortunately, the once numerous population today has about 1 thousand individuals that live in the Black Sea basin.

Males reach reproductive age of 7-9 years, and females from 8 to 14. Fertility is estimated at 5.7 million eggs. Without lingering after spawning, the fish goes quickly to the sea, where the main diet is hamsa. All species of sturgeon are commercially valuable.

Description of sturgeon

Sturgeon - large fish with elongated body. They are one of the most ancient cartilaginous fishes on Earth. The direct ancestors of modern sturgeon frolicked in rivers in the era of dinosaurs: this is proved by the repeated discoveries of fossils of their skeletons belonging to the Cretaceous period (85 - 70 million years ago).


The normal body length of an adult sturgeon is up to 2 meters, the weight is about 50 to 80 kilograms. The heaviest sturgeon ever caught during weighing showed a weight of about 816 kilograms with a body length of up to 8 meters. The large spindle-shaped body of sturgeon is covered with scales, bone tubercles, and also plates that are fused together with thickened scales (so-called “bugs”). They are arranged in 5 longitudinal rows: two on the belly, one on the back and two on the sides. The number of “scutes” depends on the belonging to a particular species.

It is interesting! The body, as a rule, is colored the color of the bottom soil - in brown, gray and sand tones, the belly of a fish is white or gray. The back can cast a beautiful green or olive tint.

Sturgeons have four sensitive mustaches - they fish for the soil in search of food. Antennae surround a small, toothless mouth with thick, fleshy lips, located at the end of an elongated pointed muzzle, in its lower part. Fry are born with small teeth, grinding in the process of maturation. The sturgeon has rigid fins, four gills and a large developed swim bladder. In its cartilaginous skeleton, the bone tissue is completely absent, as well as the spine (its function during the entire life cycle of the fish is performed by the chord).

Behavior and lifestyle

Sturgeon live at depths from 2 to 100 meters, preferring to keep and feed at the bottom. Due to the peculiarities of their habitat, they are well adapted to low water temperatures and prolonged starvation. By way of life, the species of sturgeon is divided into:

  • aisles: they inhabit coastal low-salt waters of seas and oceans, and mouths of rivers. For the time of spawning or wintering, they rise upstream of rivers, often sailing considerable distances,
  • semi-passage: in contrast to the walk-through, they spawn in the mouths of rivers, without making long-distance migrations,
  • freshwater: reside settled.


The average lifespan of sturgeon is 40-60 years. In beluga it reaches 100 years old, Russian sturgeon - 50, stellate sturgeon and sterlet - up to 20-30 years. The life time of sturgeon in the wild is influenced by such factors as climate and fluctuations in water temperature throughout the year, the level of pollution of water bodies.

Classification, types of sturgeon

Scientists know 17 living species. Most of them are listed in the Red Book.

Here are some common sturgeon in Russia:

  • Russian sturgeon - fish, caviar and meat which has long been valued for great taste. Currently on the verge of extinction. Antennae, unlike other sturgeon, do not grow around the mouth, but at the end of the muzzle. It lives and spawns in the Caspian, Black, and Azov Seas and major rivers flowing into them: the Dnieper, the Volga, the Don, the Kuban. They can be either continuous or sedentary.
    The mass of an adult Russian sturgeon usually does not exceed 25 kilograms. Has a body painted in brown and gray tones and a white abdomen. It feeds on fish, crustaceans, worms. Able to interbreed with other species of sturgeon (stellate sturgeon, sterlet) in natural conditions.
  • Kaluga - not only a city in the European part of Russia, but also a sturgeon species living in the Far East. The back of the kaluga is colored green, the body is covered with several rows of bone scales with pointed spikes and a large mustache relative to other species of sturgeon. Unpretentious in the diet. It feeds by sucking water in itself and pulling prey with it. Every five years, the female Kaluga throws out more than a million eggs.
  • Sterlet - a characteristic feature of this species is the antennae with a long fringe and a relatively large number of bone plates. In sterlet, puberty occurs earlier than in other sturgeon species. Predominantly freshwater view. The average size reaches half a meter, weight does not exceed 50 kilograms. It is a vulnerable species.
    The main part of the diet consists of insect larvae, leeches and other benthic organisms, the fish is eaten to a lesser extent. Bester, a hybrid form of sturgeon and beluga, is a popular cultivation object for meat and caviar. Natural habitat takes place in the rivers of the Caspian, Black, Azov and Baltic Seas, is found in such rivers as the Dnieper, Don, Yenisei, Ob, Volga and its tributaries, Kuban, Ural, Kama.
  • Amur sturgeon, he is a sturgeon Shrenka - forms a freshwater and semi-passage forms, is considered a close relative of the Siberian sturgeon. Gill stamens are smooth and have 1 vertex. It is on the verge of extinction. It reaches 3 meters in length with a body weight of about 190 kg, the average weight of sturgeon usually does not exceed 56-80 kg. The snout of elongated shape can be up to half the length of the head. The dorsal rows of sturgeon contain from 11 to 17 scutes, lateral from 32 to 47, abdominal from 7 to 14. Eaters of caddisfishes and mayfishes, crustaceans, lamprey larvae and small fish are eaten. It dwells in the Amur River basin, from the lower reaches and up to Shilka and Argun, during the breeding season, the shoals go upriver to the area of ​​Nikolaevsk-on-Amur.
  • Stellate sturgeon (lat. Acipenser stellatus) - sturgeon species, closely related to sterlet and thorn. Sevruga is a large fish reaching 2.2 m in length with a mass of about 80 kg. The stellate sturgeon has an elongated, narrow, slightly flattened snout, amounting to 65% of the length of the head. The rows of dorsal scutes contain from 11 to 14 elements, in the side rows there are from 30 to 36, on the belly from 10 to 11.
    The surface of the back is black and brown, the sides are much lighter, the belly is usually white. The diet of stellate sturgeon consists of crustaceans and mysids, various worms, as well as small species of fish. Sevruga lives in the basins of the Caspian, Azov and Black Seas, sometimes fish are found in the Adriatic and Aegean Seas. During the breeding season, sturgeon goes to Volga, Ural, Kuru, Kuban, Don, Dnieper, Southern Bug, Inguri and Kodori.

Back to content


The area of ​​sturgeon is quite extensive. Fish live mainly in the temperate zone (sturgeon feels bad in warm waters) exclusively in the northern hemisphere. In Russia, sturgeon lives in the waters of the Caspian, Black and Azov seas, in the Far East and in northern rivers.

During the breeding season, those species of sturgeon that are not freshwater, rise along the channels of large rivers. Certain species of fish are bred artificially on fish farms, usually located in areas of the natural range of these species.

Back to content

Sturgeon's diet

Sturgeon is omnivorous. Its usual diet includes algae, invertebrates (mollusks, crustaceans) and small fish species. Sturgeon goes to plant food only with a lack of animal.

Larger fish can successfully attack waterfowl. Shortly before spawning, sturgeons begin to eat hard everything they see: larvae, worms, leeches. They tend to nurture more fat, because during spawning the appetite of sturgeon is significantly reduced.

Only after a month after the end of breeding, fish begin to feed.. The main food of the sturgeon fry is small animals: copepods (cyclops) and branchy (daphnia and moin) crustaceans, small-sized worms and crustaceans. Growing up, young sturgeon include in their diet larger crustaceans, as well as mollusks and insect larvae.

Back to content

Reproduction and offspring

Sturgeon reach puberty at the age of 5 to 21 (the colder the climate is, the later). Females spawn about once every 3 years, several times during life, males - more often.

It is interesting! Spawning of various sturgeon can take place from March to November. Peak spawning occurs in the middle of summer.

A prerequisite for successful spawning and subsequent maturation of the offspring is freshness of water and a strong current. In standing or salt water reproduction of sturgeon is impossible. The water temperature is important: the warmer the cart, the worse the caviar ripens. When heated to 22 degrees and higher embryos do not survive.

It will also be interesting:

During one spawning, the females of sturgeon are able to lay up to several million eggs with an average diameter of 2-3 millimeters, each of which weighs about 10 milligrams. They do it in the crevices of the river bottom, between the stones and in the cracks of large boulders. Sticky eggs firmly stick to the substrate, because of this they are not carried away by the course of the river. Embryo development lasts from 2 to 10 days.

Back to content

Population and species status

In the 21st century, sturgeon is threatened with extinction as never before.. This is due to human activity: environmental degradation, over-active fishing, which lasted until the 20th century, and poaching that has continued to this day.

The tendency to reduce the number of sturgeon became apparent as early as the 19th century, but active measures to preserve the species — fighting poaching, raising fry on fish farms with further release into the wild — began to take place only in recent decades. Currently, fishing for almost all species of sturgeon in Russia is strictly prohibited.

Back to content

Commercial value

Some species of sturgeon are highly valued meat and caviar: these products are rich in easily digestible protein, the content of which in meat is up to 15%, vitamins, sodium and fatty acids. Dishes of sturgeon were an integral part of the table of Russian tsars and boyars, nobles of ancient Rome and China. The army of commander Alexander the Great used the sturgeon caviar as a food.

From the sturgeon a long time ago they cooked soup, soups, and hodgepodge, they were fried and stuffed. Gentle white meat is traditionally included in various systems of weight loss. Almost all parts of the body of sturgeon, up to cartilage and notochord, are fit for human consumption.

It is interesting! Sturgeon fat and caviar were used in the production of cosmetics in the past, and medical glue was made from a swim bladder.

It can take quite a long time to describe the positive effects that sturgeon consumption has on the human body.. The fat of these fish helps in combating stress and depression, has a positive effect on the brain and cardiovascular system. The most valuable caviar is of three species of sturgeon (in descending order):

  • beluga (color - gray or black, large eggs)
  • Russian sturgeon (brown, green, black or yellow)
  • stellate sturgeon (medium sized eggs)

Back to content


River flows, water construction, land improvement, illegal fishing - all this leads to a rapid reduction of the sturgeon population. Efforts are being made to raise their number, they are bred in artificial conditions at plants, but so far to no avail. The fish is listed in the international and Russian Red Book.

Description of sturgeon

The oldest sign of sturgeon - it is a chord, a cartilage that forms the skeleton of the skeleton, even in adult fish there are no vertebral bodies. The sturgeon has a cartilaginous base of the internal skeleton and skull, the body resembles a long spindle and has 5 lines of bone spines and scutes. The head is covered with bone shields, the muzzle is long in the form of a cone or shovel. Couple on the belly and sides, one on the back. Between them are the plates and bone grains. The dorsal fin grows closer to the tail, there is a thorn on the pectoral radial fin, the age of the individual is recognized by it.

Mouth fleshy, extends, no teeth. On the underside of the snout there are four antennae. Swimming bubble is located at the bottom of the spine and connects to the esophagus. This species also, like sharks, has a sprinkler. This is a special hole leading from the gill cavity to the upper edge of its lid. Four main gills, their membranes are attached to the throat and are connected to the throat. There are no gill rays. There are two accessory gills.

At the base of the ventral fin is the anus. In the heart is the arterial cone, in the intestine of a spiral valve. The rhombic scales contain an enamel-like substance ganoid. Because of this distinctive characteristic, sturgeon is called cartilage ganoids.


Detachment of sturgeon inhabits water basins of Europe, North Asia and America. The detachment is divided into three types:

Individuals passing type are spring and winter crops migrate to spawn from the salty sea to the river. Spawning in spring occurs in spring and summer, and only at a temperature of 15-20 degrees. There are winter species coming in the freshwater river or lake for wintering in autumn. All species are united by a long lifespan, fecundity, similar appearance, diet and lifestyle.

Sturgeon fish are very large aquatic inhabitants, for example, the beluga is 4 meters long and weighs 500 kg. The sturgeon family has a long life: the beluga lives for 100 years, the sturgeon is 50, the sturgeon is 30, the sterlet is 20 years old. Puberty occurs late, in females at 10-15 years, in males at 10-12 years. Sexual maturity in sterlet and shovelnose is achieved much earlier. One individual breeds only a few times during its life, goes to spawn every year. Sturgeon is very fertile. The female can lay several million eggs. When sturgeon go to spawn, they practically do not feed. Sturgeon fish usually live and hunt at the bottom, feeding on small fish, worms, clams, and insects.

The most popular sturgeon species

Sturgeon. There are 17 species of sturgeon. Many species are on the verge of extinction. Sturgeon is a commercial fish with an average weight of 10-20 kg. Archaeologists have found a fish that is 3 meters long and weighs 2 centners. In the Black Sea, there are currently individuals up to 100 kg. Sturgeon is a bottom fish living at the bottom of up to 100 m of lakes, rivers and seas.

  1. The Atlantic sturgeon living in the Black Sea is one of the largest species. It reaches 3m in length and 200 kg in weight. It has a black-gray back, brown-gray sides and a white belly. Due to the decline of the population, sturgeon is bred artificially. Sturgeon grows very quickly and fruitfully. In the natural environment can create hybrids with beluga, sterlet, thorn, stellate sturgeon. Живет в море, на нерест идет в реку. Питается хамсой.
  2. Очень многочислен русский осетр. Живет в Черном, Азовском и Каспийском морях. Икра русского осетра очень ценная, дороже только белужья. Питается моллюсками, крабами, креветками. Caspian sturgeon to spawn goes to the Volga and the Danube. Black Sea to the Dnieper and the Danube. Azov to Don. The bulk of the grown fry swims in the sea and only a small part of the fry remain in the river for 1-2 years.
  3. Siberian sturgeon. His body, like most sturgeon covered with bone plates, toothless retractable mouth with four antennae. Inhabits Obi, Lena, Kolyma and Yenisei. Lives 50 years, in length 3.5 meters, weighing up to 150 kg. Spawns in July. It feeds on benthic organisms, various larvae, worms and mollusks.

Beluga. The oldest freshwater sturgeon. Beluga lives about 100 years. It weighs 3 tons and reaches a length of 10 meters. The shape of the body resembles a torpedo, covered with 5 rows of protective bone plates. The belly is white in color and the back is gray. Beluga is a predator, its main ration is another small fish such as hamsa, roach, anchovy, bullheads, herring. Females are larger than males; they spawn once every 3-5 years.

Kaluga. This species belongs to the Belug family. They can grow up to 1 ton and reach 5.5 meters in length. Lives in the Amur basin. It happens fast-growing, estuary and passing.

Lopatonos. Fish reaching a length of 140 cm and weighing up to 4.5 kg. It has a different tail from other sturgeons, flattened with a long tail stem covered with bony plates. The tail thread is missing or very small, small eyes, large swim bladder. Lives in tributaries of the Amu Darya.

Spike. He looks like all sturgeon. On the back has 12-16 scutes, on the belly 11-18, on the sides 51-71. On the gill arch, 22-41 gill stamens are located. He lives in the Aral, Caspian, Azov and Black seas.

Stellate sturgeon. Inhabits the Caspian, Azov and Black Seas. It is both a spring and winter sturgeon species. The elongated shape of the body, covered with bony plates, a long nose, small antennae, an underdeveloped lower lip, a prominent forehead. The belly is white, and the back and sides are blue-black. In length it grows to 6 meters and weighs 60kg.

Sterlet. The smallest fish of the sturgeon family, 120 cm long, weighs 20 kg. The fish has a narrow long nose, the lower lip is divided in half, its long mustaches touch, the flanks on each side of the lips touch. In addition to the usual for the family of sturgeon plates, on the back of the sterlet there are closely touching plates. Sterlet can be a different color, but usually it is gray-brown on the back with a yellow-white belly. Could be pointy and stupid. He lives only in Siberia.

Sturgeon are bottom fish, therefore they feed on invertebrates living at the bottom. These are mainly worms, crustaceans, larvae and mollusks. According to the type of food, sturgeon are benthic phages. The exceptions are beluga and kaluga; they are predators. Sturgeon grow quickly. This is due to their ability to maximize the use of feed resources. In one reservoir completely different types of sturgeon that have differences in feeding type can coexist and therefore the feed resources of the reservoir are used in full.

Culinary and trade value of red fish

Sturgeon is sold both in live and frozen, chilled and smoked form. They make balyk and various canned goods. Salted fish It is forbidden to sell because it is possible infection with botulinum and severe poisoning. Previously, only fish that was sturgeon was called red. This stellate sturgeon, sturgeon, sturgeon, beluga. Fish was valued not only for the pink color of meat, but also for its excellent taste and nutritional value. Now this name has become worn and salmon. Salmon, chum salmon and pink salmon are now also red fish.


A group of sturgeon, in the list of which includes approximately 20 species, is usually represented by long-livers. The period of readiness of sturgeon for spawning occurs differently and depends on the type and place of residence of the fish. Puberty, like the growth of sturgeon, is rather slow. Some sturgeon can breed only at the age of 15.

  • In females maturation occurs in 10-20 years,
  • In males after 7-15 years.

As for weight, it can be noted that sturgeon is the fastest growing inhabitants of rivers. Puberty most quickly reach the sturgeon on the Don and in the Dnieper, much longer sturgeon living in the Volga.

List and photos of popular sturgeon fish

Sturgeon has the greatest popularity in the fishery. Today it is known about 20 species of these fish. The most popular such sturgeon.

Beluga - The oldest species of freshwater sturgeon. The life cycle of this fish can reach up to 100 years. Beluga can grow up to 10 meters in length and weigh 3 tons. The body of the beluga is shaped like a torpedo, and is covered in 5 rows with bone protective plates, the bottom is white and the top is gray. At the bottom of the muzzle are the mouth in the form of a sickle and antennae, which provide the smell of fish. Females are more than the largest males. Beluga is a predatory fish that feeds, as a rule, on gobies, anchovies, hamsa, salmon and herring. Females lay their eggs in spring, every 3-5 years.

Kaluga. This is a freshwater fish of the Belug family. Kaluga size can reach up to 5.5 m, and body weight up to one ton. Mouth half moon and large. This fish is widespread in the Amur basin, and can also be found in Sungari, Shilka, Argun. Distinguish fast-growing, estuary, passing Kaluga.

Russian sturgeon. It has a spindle-shaped body with a small, blunt snout. Antennae are at the end of the mouth. As a rule, the Russian sturgeon has a black and gray color on top, brown-gray sides and a white belly. Fish reaches maximum sizes in length up to 3.5 m and can weigh up to 120 kg. The life cycle reaches 60 years. In its natural environment, sturgeon can create crossbreeds with beluga, sterlet, stellate sturgeon and thorn. This does not happen very often, but these hybrids come across. Habitat: Black, Caspian and Azov seas.

Lopatonos. Freshwater fish weighing up to 4.5 kg and up to 140 cm in size. It is characterized by a flattened and rather long tail stem with bony plates. The tail thread is small or completely missing, the eyes are small, the swim bladder is large. Habitat - tributaries of the Amu Darya.

Siberian sturgeon. The body of this sturgeon species is covered with multiple bone plates and fulkras, the mouth is retractable, and teeth are missing. There are 4 antennae in front of the mouth. Places of residence: swimming pools Ob, Yenisei, Kolyma and Lena. Sturgeon reaches a maximum length of 3.5 m, weighs up to 150 kg, and has a life cycle of up to 50 years. Spawning usually occurs in July. The nutrient base for fish are the organisms that live at the bottom of the reservoir: amphipods, mollusks, chironomid larvae and polychaete worms.

Spike. It has a general appearance for sturgeon. Of the 5 rows of bone spines, the dorsal has 12-16 scutes, the abdominal has 11-18, the lateral 51-71. On the first branchial arch 22-41 gill stamen. Place of residence pools of the Aral, Caspian, Azov and Black Seas.

Stellate sturgeon. Lives in the Caspian, Black and Azov Seas. This species of sturgeon can be spring and winter. For the elongated body shape of this fish is characterized by the presence of a weakly developed lower lip, a prominent forehead, a long nose, and a smooth and narrow antenna. From above and on the side, the sturgeon's body is densely covered with bone scutum. The sides and back are blue-black and the belly is white. Sturgeon can reach a length of 6 m and weigh up to 60 kg.

Sterlet. The smallest fish among the sturgeon family, the sterlet can be up to 1.20 m long and have a weight of up to 20 kg. The fish has a long antennae, reaching the mouth, a narrow elongated nose, split lip in two, and adjoining shield on each side. In addition to the usual plates on the body for sturgeon, the sterlet has tightly adherent shield on its back. Taking into account the place of residence, the sterlet may have a different color, but usually its back has a gray-brown shade, and the belly is yellow-white. All fins are gray tint. At the same time, the sterlet can be pointed and stupid. Fish lives only in the north of Siberia.

Delicious fish

Sturgeon fish on sale can be seen both in live and frozen, smoked and chilled. Sturgeon is used to make balyk and various canned goods.

Sale of salted sturgeon species is prohibited. This is due to the likelihood of the presence in the meat of a painful anaerob - botulinus, which causes severe poisoning.

Once, only red sturgeon fish was attributed to red fish. They are such species as beluga, sterlet, sturgeon and sturgeon. However, these species were valued absolutely not for the pinkish shade of meat, but for their excellent taste and nutritional properties. Now this generalized name is fixed for salmon fishes. Thus, salmon, pink salmon and chum salmon are also called red.

There is a certain culinary and commercial classification of this fish. The first group includes sturgeon, a place of residence, which is the Caspian and Black Seas. These are such species as beluga, sterlet and thorn, sturgeon and sturgeon. The second group is salmon, such as salmon and trout, pink salmon and chum, and the last group are white salmon (white salmon and silver salmon, white salmon and taimen).

The value of red fish is due to its high content in meat. vitamins of group A, B, E, PP and D, zinc, phosphorus and calcium, fluorine and iodine. But the most important for the human body is fatty polyunsaturated acid Omega 3. This acid is needed for normal brain function, maintain immunity and improve memory. Scientists have shown that those people who constantly include red fish in their menu, do not face depression, and also 3 times reduce the risk of hypertension and oncology.

Meet the sturgeon

Before the start of the throwing of caviar, in the spring, the sturgeon move to freshwater bodies, and they master places with a shallow depth. Many progeny are born, first in the form of larvae. Some representatives of sturgeon are relocated to fresh water not only for spawning, but also before wintering. They successfully master the bottom, and find food for themselves there - small fish, worms, mollusks and insects.

Sturgeon body features

Representatives of sturgeon are distinguished by their large weight and size. They have an elongated body, bone shields arranged in five rows, alternating with bone plates. Snout cone-shaped, shaped like a shovel. On the face there are two pairs of antennae, mouth with fleshy lips, no teeth.

Oddly enough, even adult fish do not have vertebral bodies. The representatives of this oldest family on our planet have much in common with shark-like ones, for example, both have a sprinkler.

Growth and puberty

Most sturgeons are long-lived. Individuals begin to spawn at different times, it all depends on the type of fish and the place where it lives. When spawning ends, the fish returns to the sea, gaining weight, so that in a year to go again to spawn.

Sturgeon does not grow as slowly as puberty occurs. Not rarely, females are ready to spawn only in 20 years. On average, this indicator is 8-21 years old; males become sexually mature earlier, at the age of 5-18 years. In the inhabitants of the Don and the Dnieper, this happens faster, in fish living in the waters of the Volga - longer.

Annually, caviar throwing occurs only in sterlet. Despite the fact that the flow in the rivers is fast, it does not affect the spawn. Due to the sticky structure, the eggs stick to the pebbles and maintain their integrity.