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  • Acipenser oxyrhynchus  Mitchill, 1814
  • Acipenser oxyrinchus  Mitchill, 1815
  • Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus  Mitchill, 1815
  • Acipenser oxyrhynchus oxyrhynchus  Mitchill, 1815
    FAO Names
    En - Atlantic sturgeon, Fr - , Sp - .
    3Alpha Code: AAO     Taxonomic Code: 1170100108
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Acipenser oxyrinchus  Mitchill, 1815. The fishes of New York described and arranged. Trans. Lit. Phil. Soc. N.Y. : 355-492.
    Diagnostic Features
    Elongate fish, spindlpe shape in cross section. Rostrum long for Acipenseridae, sharply V-shaped.  Spiracle present. Snout and caudal peduncle subconical. Gill membranes joined to isthmus. Mouth transverse. Two pairs of barbels, usually originating closer to the tip of the snout than mouth. Upper lip indented in the middle and lower lip interrupted.  Dorsal rays, 38-46. Anal rays, 26-28.  7-16 dorsal scutes. 24-35 lateral scutes and 6-9 ventral scutes. Scutes with a median keel terminating in a spine present on all except in very large individuals. Preanal and postanal plates paired. Rhombic plates on either side of the anal fin larger than those covering rest of body.  Juvenile have distinct black contour band uning along dorsal surface of rostrum which dissapear with age. Juveniles lacks the oval-shaped black rostral patch of adults on the ventral surface of the snout. Colour variable through life. Juveniles have dark brown dorsum with dark scutes and central portion of all dorsal scutes and cephalic plates, ligther. Ventral surface whithe or yellowish. Adults usually dark brown on dorsum but sometimes peanut brown or even coppery. Lower surface white or slightly yellowish. Viscera pale (Scott & Crossman, 1990; Vecsei & Peterson, 2000). 
    Geographical Distribution

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    A. oxyrinchus oxyrinchus inhabits rivers, estuaries and ocean along east coast of North America from the St. Johns River (Florida) to Hamilton Inlet (Labrador). A. o. desotoi (Gulf sturgeon) inhabits the gulf of Mexico and northern coast of South America (Birstein et al., 1997).
    Habitat and Biology
    Inhabit shallow waters of continental shelf and rivers.Zoobenthos: annelids, gastropods, bivalves, benthic crustaceans (amphipods, isopods) and bony fishes (Mallotus villosus, Ammodytessp.).Atlantic sturgeon are anadromous and undertake upriver spawning migrations beginning in February/March in the southern rivers, April/May in the mid-Atlantic region and May/July in Canadian waters (Smith, 1985; Smith & Clugston, 1997). Atlantic sturgeon undertake extensive coastal migrations. Most juvenile Atlantic sturgeon remain in slightly brackish water near the river mout/estuarine zone for a number of months or years. Although actual spawning locations are not well known, they are believed to include flowing water over hard substrates.
    Eggs demersal, measuring 2.55 mm in diameter and hatching in 1 week at 17.8°C (Vladykov & Greeley, 1963). Juveniles may remain in fresh or brackish water until 3-5 years of age or 76-91.5 cm long. Gulf sturgeon usually begin to migrate into coastal rivers from the Gulf of Mexico during mid to late February as the rivers warm to 16-19 ºC; migartion peaks during late March; downstream movements usually begins in mid-November as the water cools to 20ºC (Smith & Clugston, 1997). Females take 14 to 17 years to reach sexual maturity and spawn only every 3-4 years; males mature between 12-14 years. 
    To 4 m and 350 kg, but usually most adults are smaller. Weight for mature migrating males is 30-45 kg and for females 50-110 kg.
    Interest to Fisheries
    As of 1997, the commercial fishery for Atlantic sturgeon has been closed in United States waters. During recent years, landings in Canadian waters have increased substantially, but fishery managers in Canada are in the process of establishing more stringent fishery regulations for sturgeon. In recent years, there has been reneewed interest in culturing North American sturgeons (Smith & Clugston, 1997).
    Local Names
    FRANCE : Esturgeon noir ,  Esturgeon noir d'Amérique .
    GERMANY : Atlantischer Stör .
    POLAND : Jesiotr ostronosy .
    SPAIN : Esturión atlántico americano .
    UNITED KINGDOM : American Atlantic sturgeon .
    USA : Atlantic sturgeon .
    The Atlantic sturgeon, A. oxyrinchus , consists of two subspecies: A. o. oxyrinchus (Atlantic sturgeon) and A.o. desotoi (Gulf sturgeon)(Birstein & Bemis, 1997; Smith & Clugston, 1997). The evidence for separate species status for the European sturgeon, Acipenser sturio, and the Atlantic sturgeon, A. oxyrinchus, has been established by Birstein & Doukakis (2000).
    Bigelow, H.B., M.G. Bradbury, J.R. Dymond, J.R. Greeley, S.F. Hildebrand, G.W. Mead, R.R. Miller, L.R. Rivas, W.L. Schroeder, R.D. Suttkus & V.D. Vladykov - 1953. Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Soft-rayed bony fishes. Mem. Sears. Found. Mar. Res. .  1(Pt. 3): 630p..
    Birstein, V.B. & W.E. Bemis. - 1997. How many species are there within the genus Acipenser? Environ. Biol. Fish. .  48: 157-163.
    Birstein, V.J. - 1993 . Sturgeons and paddlefishes: threatened fishes in need of conservation. Conserv. Biol. .  7:773-787..
    Birstein, V.J., Bemis, W.E. & J.R. Waldman. - 1997. The threatened status of acipenseriform species: a summary. Environm. Biol. Fish. .  48:427-435.
    Birstein, V. J. & P. Doukakis. - 2000. Molecular analysis of Acipenser sturio L., 1758 and Acipenser oxyrinchus Mitchill, 1815: A review. Bol. Inst. Esp. Oceanogr. .  16: 61-73.
    Hilton-Taylor, C. - 20002000 IUCN red list of threatened species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. .  xviii + 61 p. with 1 CD-ROM.
    Huff, J.A. - 1975. Life history of Gulf of Mexico sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrhynchus desotoi, in Suwannee River, Florida. Fla. Mar. Res. Publ. .  16. 32 p.
    Jones, P.W., F.D. Martin & J.D. Hardy, Jr. - 1978. Development of fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight. An atlas of eggs, larval and juvenile stages.Vol. 1 - Acipenseridae through Ictaluridae.Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. .  336 p.
    Nelson, J.S. - 1994. Fishes of the world. 3rd.edition. John Wiley & Sons
    Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea & W.B. Scott. - 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Pub. .  (20):183 p.
    Scott, W.B. & E.J. Crossman. - 1990. Freshwater Fishes of Canada. Bull. Fish. Res. Bd. Can. .  184: 966 p.
    Smith, C.L.. - 1997. National Audubon Society field guide to tropical marine fishes of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York. .  720 p..
    Smith, T.I.J. - 1985. The fishery, biology, and management of Atlantic sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus, in North America. Environ. Biol. Fish. .  14 (1): 61-72.
    Smith, T.I.J. & J.P. Clugston. - 1997. Status and management of Atlantic sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus, in North America. Environ. Biol. Fish. .  48: 335-347.
    Vecsei, P. & D. Peterson. - 2000. Threatened fishes of the world: Acipenser oxyrinchus Mitchill, 1815 (Acipenseridae). Environ. Biol. Fish. .  59: 98.
    Vladykov, V. - 1955. A comparison of Atlantic sea sturgeon with a new subespecies from the Gulf of Mexico (Acipenser oxyrhynchus desotoi). J.Fish.Res.Bd.Can. .  12:754-761.
    Vladykov, V. & J. Greeley. - 1963. Order Acipenseroidei. Centr. Dept. des Pêcheries, Quebec. .  nº 53, 60 p. . also published in Mem. Sear Found. Mar. Res., 1: Part. 3
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