The Kaluga (Huso dauricus)
Kaluga – one of the largest freshwater fish along with its close relative the Beluga is the pride of Russia. It lives exclusively in the basin of the Amur river and its tributaries – the Shilka, Argun, Sungari, and others.
The body of the Kaluga covered with five rows of bone plates, each of which has a keel with a small spine at the tip. The skin is hard and bumpy, and has a dark green-brown color on the back and sides, and light gray or white on the abdomen. Males and females do not differ from each other neither color nor size.
Like other sturgeon, Kaluga engaged in predation. Its diet includes many species of fish, including chum salmon, pink salmon, common carp, silver carp and even gudgeon. Mouth of the predator in the open position resembles a pipe. Dramatically opening the mouth, she literally sucks the prey along with the water flow. Her appetite is quite large – easily three-meter individual meter Ketu swallows, and her stomach can hold up to a dozen fish this size. This allows Kaluga to grow truly gigantic rate of 10 cm per year in length and 10 kg in weight under the age of 10 years, and after this point she adds 3-6 cm per year in length and to 20 kg in weight. The lifespan of fish is about 80 years, allowing individuals to reach 5-6 meters in length and weigh up to 1000 pounds. the Giant Kaluga
There are two forms of Kaluga – estuary settled. First migrated for spawning in the estuary, the second one never leaves the river and lives in distinct groups. Mature individuals be not earlier than the tenth year of life, and sometimes the first spawning takes place when the fish reaches 17 years of age.
The spawning period occurs at the end of spring – beginning of summer. At this time, the female finds a suitable shingle spit with a strong current of water where the light plays from 600 thousand to 4 million eggs. After spawning the female loses up to a third of its weight, and goes down the river. The next time you spawn it will be only after 5 years.Kaluga caviar is a very expensive delicacy
The eggs stick to the stones, and after 7 days of them hatched. Just born, the fry of Kaluga immediately begin to hymnical eating insect larvae and other invertebrates. After 2-3 months they are already the length reaches 20-25 cm, and they change their diet to small fish. At the same time, the very young often becomes a victim of adults.Couple caught kalugas
Kaluga is considered the most valuable commercial fish. It caught so many that by the middle of the last century it was almost extinct at all, but in time the measures taken to protect the species were allowed to rebuild the population. Today the catch of Kaluga is strictly regulated, and some areas completely prohibited.
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