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Russian sturgeon can reach 2-4 m of length and 70-600 kg of weight. Body is spindle-shaped and proportionaly wide. Dorsal scutes can range from 8 to 18, lateral scutes 24-50 and ventral scutes 6-13. It differs from other species of the Acipenser genera by its short snout with rounded tip, as well as by its lower lip, which is interrupted at its center. Barbells are not fringed, they are short, curved and situated near the top of the snout. Branchiostegal membrane is attached to the isthmus.
Russian sturgeon is widely distributed throughout Black, Azov and Caspian Sea basins. In the Danube River, it used swim upstream to Bratislava, and it was sometimes also registered in Sava River and Tisa River. During the period when Russian sturgeon resides in the sea, it occupies shallow water near the shore, dwelling mostly in brackish waters above sandy bottom, while during the night it goes up to the water surface. During its migration in river, Russian sturgeon dwells on 2-30 m of depth.
Maximum recorded age is 46 years. Males become sexually mature at 11-13 years and females at 12-16 years of age. Spawning intervals for females are 5-6 years. Spawning run is in the area with the fast water flow, mainly at the bottom in the middle of the river flow, at the depth no less than 6 m and with 12-16°C water temperature. They do not choose only gravelly bottoms and can also spawn in flooded areas along the river bank and sandy areas at the river mouth. Small number of individuals in the Danube River is spawning not far from the river mouth, while the most of the individuals are migrating upstream before spawning. In the Danube River, migration reaches maximum during the summer period, but they do not spawn in that year; instead, they stay over the winter in different parts of the river and spawn next year in spring.
Russian sturgeon is a benthic feeder, and it feeds mainly on snails, shells, crabs, insect larva, and also on small specimens of fish (mainly from the family Gobiidae and genera Engraulis and Sprattus).
Russian sturgeon catch decrease
Starting from 2009, there is a permanent ban established for the Russian sturgeon catch (“Official Gazette of Republic Serbia“, No 36/09). Furthermore, the Decree on Natural Rarities ("Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia", no. 50/93) defined I level of protection for the Russian sturgeon, which also implies permanent catch ban.
Source: Lenhardt, M., Hegediš, A. and Jaric, I. (2005). Action plan for sturgeon species management in fishery waters of Republic Serbia. Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stankovic”, p. 21. Developed for Ministry of Science and Environmental Protection of Republic Serbia.