How long do they live? Supposedly 100 years based on the website Anage. Unfortunately the reference they list, Fishbase, does not mention anything about age or longevity for Darby’s sturgeon (also known as the Yangtze sturgeon).

Where are they found? They are only found in the Yangtze River  in China.

What do they eat? They eat small fish and plants [1].

What do they look like? This link will take you to one of the few decent pictures that I could find. Beyond that, see figure 1. They look like a prehistoric creature and the largest they get is about 8 feet [1].

Figure 1. Dabry’s sturgeon. Note: will probably be extinct soon.

How do they reproduce? Dabry’s sturgeons reproduces by spawning. Males and females are sexually mature between 4 to 8 years of age [1].

How do scientists know how old they are? I have no idea. I’m suspicious that an age was just made up. At least it’s a believable age. I mean If I were just assigning random ages to species, I’d get crazy with it. Example: The common house cat as seen in Figure 2 can live up to 248 years depending on how many humans you sacrifice to it, preferably hickerbillies.

Figure 2. Scientists believe this cat is at least 200 years old, which means many humans had to die for such an achievement. Side note: This is Henri, he’s actually 10 years old and enjoys sleeping on scientific papers.

So what are we lacking? That would be almost everything, beginning with actual age verification. There is mitochondrial genome information for Acipenser dabryanus on NCBI, but no nuclear genome details. Reproductive senescence data would be useful as well.

Conservation status: Darby’s sturgeons are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, which is one step from extinction. This may explain the lack of pictures. Can you guess the main cause of this drastic decline in the species? If you guessed over-fishing then you’re correct.

Please contact me if you have information about this sturgeon species.  Being that they may not have much more time on this planet, any information is welcome.

  1. Fisheries Global Information System. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed 9/30/2016