Sterlet

Acipenser ruthenus

The Sterlet is the only living representative of the sturgeon family which lives year round in freshwater; is in danger of becoming extinct in the Danube

Description
Slim body; long, upwards-turned snout with long, fringed barbels. Back is dark and belly dirty white. Length from 40-60cm, maximum of 1m. Prominent scaly crest on the back.

Distribution
Rivers flowing into the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and the Sea of Azov.

Endangerment and Conservation Status
Critically endangered and is being supported by breeding and stocking.

Behaviour
Bottom-living fish, feeds on small fish and animals. The Sterlet spawns in May-June on gravelly ground.

Special Characteristics
All other sturgeon species of the Danube above the Iron Gate (which is impenetrable) are thought to be extinct. Coordinated stocking measures are aimed at supporting the Sterlet population in the Donau-Auen National Park.