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The family of sturgeons (lat.: Acipenserini) includes 19 species of fish commonly known as sturgeons and some closely related species like beluga and kaluga. Sturgeons belong to the class of ray-finned fish (lat.: Actinopterygii) in the taxonomic group of bony fish (lat.: Osteichthyes). They are only found in the Northern Hemisphere. Sturgeons may survive in salt and fresh water. Some species are migrating fish that live in the sea and migrate into rivers to spawn. They are therefore considered freshwater fish. Young sturgeons of the migrating species move into the sea when they are two years old.

Sturgeons have an elongated, shark-like body. The impression of a shark is further enforced by the asymmetrical caudal fin with elongated upper tail lobes. Instead of scales most species are covered with scutes, which are bony plates that are the most characteristic trait of the easily recognizable sturgeon. Also very characteristic is their flattened rostrum (Latin for beak-like snout). Four barbels - whisker-like tactile organs containing the tastebuds - precede the toothless mouth.

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Well-known sturgeon species

  • Sturgeon, lat.: Acipenser sturio
  • Beluga, lat.: Huso huso
  • Starry sturgeon, lat.: Acipenser stellatus
  • Russian sturgeon, lat.: Acipenser gueldenstaedti

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Gastronomical use of sturgeons

Sturgeons are best known for their roe, which is called true caviar. It is less known that sturgeon meat, especially that of smaller species, has an excellent taste. Sturgeon is usually sold smoked. It is suited for all preparation methods used for swordfish or tuna. It is at its best when fried or grilled. Many sturgeon species are currently considered endangered, most others are vulnerable. It is therefore not advisable to eat sturgeon.

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