Beluga (sturgeon)


Beluga (sturgeon)

Taxobox
name = Beluga
status = EN
status_system = iucn2.3



image_width = 200px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Actinopterygii
ordo = Acipenseriformes
familia = Acipenseridae
genus = "Huso"
species = "H. huso"
binomial = "Huso huso"
binomial_authority = (Linnaeus, 1758)

The beluga or European sturgeon ("Huso huso") is a species of anadromous fish in the sturgeon family (Acipenseridae) of order Acipenseriformes. It is found primarily in the Caspian and Black Sea basins, and occasionally in the Adriatic Sea. Heavily fished for the female's valuable roe—known as beluga caviar— the beluga is a huge (some documented specimens attain nearly 6 meters [19 feet] ), slow-growing and late-maturing fish that can live for 118 years. [ [http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=2067&genusname=Huso&speciesname=huso Huso huso.] Fishbase.com. Accessed on 11 January 2008] The species' numbers have been greatly reduced by overfishing and poaching, prompting many governments to enact restrictions on its trade.

The English name comes from the Russian белуга ("beluga") or белуха ("belukha") which derives from the word белый ("belyy"), meaning "white".

Behavior

The beluga is a large predator which feeds on other fish. Beluga sturgeons are fish, entirely unrelated to mammalian beluga whales. The word derives from the Russian word for white.

The beluga travels up rivers to spawn, as do many sturgeons. In this manner sturgeons are sometimes likened to sea fish, though most scientists still consider them river fish.

Size

Unconfirmed reports suggest that belugas may reach a length of up to 8.6 m (28 ft) and weigh as much as 2,700 kilograms (5,940 lbs), making them the largest freshwater fish in the world, larger even than the Mekong giant catfish or the pirarucu. At this mass, the beluga would be even heavier than the ocean sunfish, generally recognized as the largest of bony fishes. But the largest generally accepted record is of the female taken in 1827 in the Volga estuary at 1,476 kg (3,249 lbs) and 7.2 m (24 ft). [Wood, The Guinness Book of Animal Facts and Feats. Sterling Pub Co Inc (1983), ISBN 978-0851122359] Nevertheless, some scientists still consider the Mekong giant catfish to be the largest freshwater fish, owing to sturgeons' ability to survive in seawater.

Caviar

Beluga caviar is considered a delicacy worldwide. The meat of the beluga, on the other hand, is not particularly renowned. Beluga caviar has long been scarce and expensive, but the endangered status of the fish has made its caviar more expensive than before. (See beluga caviar.)

Status

IUCN classifies the beluga as Endangered. It is a protected species listed in appendix III of the Bern Convention and its trade is restricted under CITES appendix II. The Mediterranean population is strongly protected under appendix II of the Bern Convention, prohibiting any intentional killing of these fish.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has banned imports of Beluga Caviar and other beluga products from the Caspian Sea since October 6, 2005.

References

* Listed as Endangered (EN A2d v2.3)
*
* [http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/FR/Treaties/Html/104-2.htm Annex II of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Naturaabitats] . Revised 1 March 2002.
*Redlist|ID=10269|taxon=Huso huso|assessor=IUCN Sturgeon Specialist Group.|year=2004


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  • Beluga caviar — is caviar consisting of the roe (or eggs) of the Beluga sturgeon found primarily in the Caspian Sea. It can also be found in the Black Sea basin and occasionally in the Adriatic Sea. Beluga caviar is the most expensive type of caviar, with… …   Wikipedia

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  • Beluga whale — White Whale redirects here. For other uses, see White Whale (disambiguation). Beluga[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Beluga (whale) — Taxobox name = BelugaMSW3 Cetacea|id=14300105] status = NT status system = iucn3.1 status ref = [IUCN2008| assessors=Jefferson, T.A., Karczmarski, L., Laidre, K., O’Corry Crowe, G., Reeves, R.R., Rojas Bracho, L., Secchi, E.R., Slooten, E., Smith …   Wikipedia

  • beluga caviar — noun roe of beluga sturgeon usually from Russia; highly valued • Hypernyms: ↑caviar, ↑caviare • Part Holonyms: ↑beluga, ↑hausen, ↑white sturgeon, ↑Acipenser huso …   Useful english dictionary

  • Beluga — Be*lu ga (b[ e]*l[=u] g[.a]), n. [Russ. bieluga a sort of large sturgeon, prop. white fish, fr. bieluii white. The whale is now commonly called bieluka in Russian.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) A cetacean allied to the dolphins. [1913 Webster] Note: The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • beluga caviar — Beluga Be*lu ga (b[ e]*l[=u] g[.a]), n. [Russ. bieluga a sort of large sturgeon, prop. white fish, fr. bieluii white. The whale is now commonly called bieluka in Russian.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) A cetacean allied to the dolphins. [1913 Webster] Note: The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • beluga — [bə lo͞o′gə] n. pl. beluga or belugas [< Russ < byelyj, white (Russ byeluga, the sturgeon & byelukha, the whale) < IE base * bhel , to gleam: see BLACK] 1. a large, white sturgeon (Huso huso) of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea 2. a… …   English World dictionary

  • beluga — 1590s, from Rus. beluga, lit. great white, from belo white (from PIE *bhel o , from root *bhel (1) to shine, flash, burn; see BLEACH (Cf. bleach)) + augmentative suffix uga. Originally the great sturgeon, found in the Caspian and Black seas;… …   Etymology dictionary


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