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Author: Pallas, 1771

Acipenser stellatus Pallas, 1771

Diagnosis: snout long, a little over 60% of head, pointed at tip. Lower lip not continuous, interrupted at centre; barbels not fringed, short, not reaching mouth but nearer to it than to tip of snout Gillrakers 30-36. Dorsal finrays 40-46; anal finrays 24-29. 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. Colour: back dark grey to almost black, flanks lighter, belly white. Size: to 190 cm, usually 110-140 cm.

Habitat: on bottom or pelagic, mainly near shore over sand and mud, at 10-40 m in spring and 40-100 m in autumn; at bottom during day, rising to surface to feed at night; long migrations in sea; the most abundant sturgeon in Clofnam area. Food: mainly fish, also molluscs, crustaceans, worms. Reproduction: enters rivers from April to June, spawning from May to July, but mainly surviving by artificial propagation.

Distribution: Black Sea, Seas of Azov and Marmara, entering all main rivers (Don, Kuban, Dnieper, Dniester); formerly recorded also from Adriatic; the most abundant of the sturgeons in the Clofnam area. Elsewhere, Caspian Sea (more abundant).

Complementary iconography. Antipa, 1909, fig. 95-96 | Berg et al., 1949, pl. 17 (col.) Elanidze et al., 1970, fig. 6 (col.).

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Antipa, 1909, fig. 97a-d, 98a-c | Disler, 1951: 323, fig. 1-6 | Alyavdina, 1951: 44, fig. 7-10 | Zaryanova, 1954: 323, fig. 12-21.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

Starry sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus)