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Meet the six Danube Dinosaurs

The Danube is a sturgeon diversity hotspot, with six of the in total twenty-five sturgeons being native to its waters. Each of these species has unique characteristics, morphology, feeding habits and needs to survive. This diversity makes it therefore extra complex for conservationists to revive populations and restore the river to meet their needs. Still, all sturgeons suffer from habitat impoundments by dams, pollution, illegal fishing and bycatch. Taking these pressures away is key to their long-term survival.

The following information has been collected through the website: www.iucnredlist.org, www.danube-sturgeons.org and www.lb4sturgeon.eu, and the first five photos have been made available at the courtesy of the LIFEBoat4sturgeon team. 

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© Clemens Ratschan

Beluga Sturgeon

Full name: Huso Huso

Age: up to 100 years

Length: up to 7.2 metres

Weight: up to 2 tonnes

Resident lower Danube. 

Uniqueness: Beluga is the biggest freshwater fish, with long-lived adults becoming as large as great white sharks.

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© BOKU

Ship Sturgeon

Full name: Acipenser nudiventris

Age: up to 30 years

Length: 2.2 metres

Weight: 80 kg

Extinct in the Danube.

Uniqueness: Ship sturgeons like to spend their time in deep stretches of rivers, the so-called benthos region.

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© Clemens Ratschan

Russian Sturgeon

Full name: Acipenser Guldenstaedtii

Age: up to 50 years

Length: 2.2 metres

Weight: 120 kg

Resident in lower Danube.

Uniqueness: Russian sturgeons swim enormous distances, migrating in the past all the way to Bratislava. 

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© Clemens Ratschan

Sterlet

Full name: Acipenser Ruthenus

Age: up to 26 years

Length: 1.2 metres

Weight: 16 kg

Resident in entire Danube. 

Uniqueness: Although the sterlet migrates large distances in the Danube, it does not swim out to the Black Sea.

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© Clemens Ratschan

Stellate

Full name: Acipenser Stellatus

Age: up to 27 years

Length: 2.2 metres

Weight: 60 kg

Resident in lower Danube.

Uniqueness: Since the stellate's raplid decline, it's caviar, known as sevruga, is the most valuable of caviar varieties.

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© Jean Francis Hellio and Nicolas van Ingen

European Sturgeon

Full name: Acipenser sturio

Age: up to 100 years

Length: up to 6 metres 

Weight: up to 400 kg

Extinct in the Danube

 

Uniqueness: While historically found in rivers all across Europe, there is just one small population of European sturgeon left in the Garonne river in France.

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