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Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Huso huso Linnaeus, 1758

Diagnosis: snout moderate and pointed, turning slightly upward. Lower lip not continuous, interrupted at centre; barbels oval or flat, leaf-like posteriorly, reaching almost to mouth; gillrakers 16-22. Dorsal finrays 62-73; anal finrays 28-41. Five rows of scutes, dorsal 11-14 (first one smallest), lateral 41-52 on each side, ventral 9-11 on each side. Colour: back ash-grey or greenish, flanks lighter, belly white. Size: to 392 cm and 800 kg, nowadays usually 120-260 cm and to 363 kg.

Habitat: adults mainly in midwater at 70-180 m off Crimea, or 70-180 m off Caucasus, from 2 to 12 km offshore; less abundant than Acipenser gueldenstaedti. Food: mostly sea fishes (Black Sea whiting, anchovies flatfishes, striped mullet, gobies, fry of bottom-living fishes), also crustaceans, molluscs; the young on fry of bottom fishes, on mysids and amphipods. Reproduction: enters rivers from March, usually April and May (also in autumn), spawning mainly in May, but largely surviving by artificial propagation.

Distribution: Black Sea and Sea of Azov, entering all main rivers (Don, Kuban. Dnieper, Dniester, Danube); also from Adriatic, rare and no precise data. Elsewhere, Caspian Sea, where it is more numerous.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Antipa: 1909, fig. 124-128 | Dragomirov, 1961: 72, fig. 1.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

Beluga (Huso huso)