Threatened fishes of the world: Acipenser ruthenus Linnaeus, 1758 (Acipenseridae)


Common names: Sterlet (E) Kecsege (Hu) Cega (Ro) Jeseter maly (Slov). Conservation status: Under IUCN, listed as Endangered in principal rivers (Volga, Danube) entering the Caspian and Black seas. Hungarian and Romanian sector of Danube population listed as Vulnerable. Dnieper River population listed as Endangered. In Siberia, the Ob, Irtysh and Yenisei River populations are Endangered (Birstein et al. 1997). The sterlet is listed under Appendix II of CITES. Identification: D 32 – 49, A 16 – 34 rays, 11 – 18 dorsal scutes, 56 – 71 lateral scutes and 10 – 20 ventral scutes. Body elongated and tapering posteriorly. Rostrum sharply pointed, length variable depending on age of individual or stock of origin. Two pairs of fimbrated barbells originating closer to tip of rostrum than mouth. Middle of the upper lip indented; lower lip interrupted. Mouth ventrally situated and small. Eye relatively large compared to other sturgeon species, comprising 12 – 14% of head length. Body covered with tiny denticles and five rows of scutes (1 dorsal, 2 lateral, 2 ventral). Post-dorsal plates tiny and numerous. Post-anal plates also small and scattered. Pre-anal plates small and in a single row of 1 – 4 (Hochleithner & Gessner 1999). Maximum size for A. ruthenus rarely exceeds 3 kg in weight and 80 cm in length. Coloration usually dark brown with lateral scutes forming a prominent white lateral band. Ventral surface white to pale yellow. Distribution: Widely distributed throughout the Ponto-Caspian Region, Europe and Siberia. The sterlet is a potomodromous resident of large rivers flowing into the Caspian, Black, Barents and Kara seas. In the Danube, A. ruthenus historically occurred as far upstream as Germany (Heckel & Kner 1858). The once large population in the upper Danube between Regensburg and Passau was thought to be local and not an annual influx of migrants (Kinzelbach 1994). No longer present in the German portion of the Danube and is rare in Austria (Balon et al. 1986). Abundance: Most common in the middle reaches of the Danube. In recent years, the sterlet has made a considerable resurgence in Slovakia and Hungary and is abundant in Serbia. Also present in the Tisza River, a Slovak-Hungarian tributary of the Danube (Hensel & Holcik 1997). Less common in the lower Danube. In Russia, A. ruthenus was once common to the mid and lower sections of the Volga River but was relatively rare in the Don, Dniester and …

DOI: 10.1007/s10641-006-6659-1

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@article{Peterson2006ThreatenedFO, title={Threatened fishes of the world: Acipenser ruthenus Linnaeus, 1758 (Acipenseridae)}, author={Douglas L. Peterson and Paul Vecsei and Martin Hochleithner}, journal={Environmental Biology of Fishes}, year={2006} }