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a genus of fishes of the family Acipenseridae (sturgeons). The genus includes freshwater and migratory forms, which are up to 3 m long and weigh up to 200 kg (Baltic sturgeon).
There are 16 species of Acipenser, eight of which are found in the USSR. The eight species are the ship sturgeon (Acipenser nudiventris), the sterlet (A. ruthensis), the stellate sturgeon (A. stellatus), the Russian sturgeon (A. güldenstädti), the Siberian sturgeon (A. baeri), the Amur sturgeon (A. schrencki), the Baltic sturgeon (A. sturio), and the green sturgeon (A. medirostris).
The Russian sturgeon, of which there are migratory and nonanadromous forms, inhabits the basins of the Black, Azov, and Caspian seas. A semimigratory form of the Siberian sturgeon is found in the rivers of Siberia, from the Ob’ to the Kolyma and Indigirka rivers; nonanadromous lake forms are found in Lake Baikal and Lake Zaisan. The Amur sturgeon, which has semimigratory and nonanadromous forms, is found only in the Amur Basin. The Baltic sturgeon, a rare migratory fish, is encountered in the basin of the Northern Atlantic and in the basin of the Mediterranean, Black, and Baltic seas. The green sturgeon is also very rare; it is a migratory fish found in the basin of the North Pacific, from the Bering Sea to the Korean Peninsula and California.
The Acipenser, particularly the Russian and stellate sturgeons, are extremely valuable commercial fishes. The largest number is caught in the Caspian Sea. In the USSR, some species are bred artificially.
REFERENCESBerg, L. S. Ryby presnykh vod SSSR i sopredel’nykh stran, 4th ed., part 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 4, part 1. Moscow, 1971.
Nikol’skii, G. V. Chastnaia ikhtiologiia, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1971.
V. M. MAKUSHOK