Diamondback Sturgeon Natural History
A diamondback sturgeon can reach lengths of 125 cm and weigh up to 15 kg.
Habitat and Distribution
In the wild they live in the rivers around the Caspian, Black and Azov Sea basins across Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Iran, Moldova, Georgia, Serbia, Russian Federation, Romania, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Turkey.
They can reach an age of 65.
The diamondback sturgeon is a benthic animal (lives at the bottom of a body of water) and so feeds on that which is available to them at that level including crustaceans, molluscs and small fish, using their mouths to suck food from the sea and river beds.
Groups and Breeding
These fish spawn in the strong currents of large, deep rivers. Males can take up to 13 years to reproduce for the first time and females can take up to 16 years. Females only reproduce once every 4-6 years (males are once ever 2-3 years) during late spring when the temperatures rise. Larvae are carried on the currents towards shallower habitats. In their first summer they migrate to the sea until they reach maturity.
This species is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. This is due to loss of spawning sites caused by dam construction. Over fishing and poaching have also contributed to an estimated 90% decline in population over the last 45 years.
Caviar is produced from these fish which is driving the increase in poaching.
The Diamondback Sturgeon During Your Day Out in Kent
The diamondback sturgeon ( also known as the Russian sturgeon) at Wingham Wildlife Park lives in the large lake situated in front of the lions, jaguars and pumas. It shares this with mirror, leather and ghost carp, koi, ducks, geese, a black swan, storks and several turtle species including yellow bellied sliders, eastern river cooters and common snapping turtles.