This weeks #FactFriday is focusing on the European sturgeon, Acipenser sturio.
This fish species is classed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to overfishing, poaching, water pollution and destruction of their habitat.
The sturgeon is a large fish with an elongated body and flattened snout with recognisable plates along it’s body. They can grow up to 6 metres and weigh a whopping 400kg, part of their reason for decline is due to their long juvenile phase, they don’t reach sexual maturity until 20 years and can live for over 100 years.
They are found along most European coastlines, and being anadromous, migrate to inland rivers to breed. However, despite this being their distribution, there is only 1 freshwater river left in which they are known to spawn – the Garonne river basin in France.
They feed on molluscs and crustaceans and locate them using barbells on the front of their mouths
Interesting fact: sturgeons are the only species that have diamond shaped pupils!