Russian Sturgeon

Acipenser gueldenstaedtii

About This Animal

SIZE: 8 feet (2.4 m); up to 254 lbs. (115 kg.)

RANGE: Found in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Ukraine

HABITAT: In saltwater, estuarine and shallow coastal zones; in freshwater, deep parts of large rivers with a moderate to swift current

DIET: Wide variety of benthic crustaceans, mollusks and small fish

ON EXHIBIT: Rivers of the World gallery

Russian sturgeon, also known as the diamond sturgeon or the Danube sturgeon, can live up to 48 years of age and live primarily in saltwater, though they migrate into freshwater to spawn.  Populations are decreasing rapidly in the wild do to illegal fishing practices for the caviar industry.  At their current rate of decline, extinction in the very near future is inevitable. Survival can only depend upon stocking efforts.  According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Russian sturgeon is critically endangered with the next step possibly being extinction.