Sturgeon Hybrids

Hybrid sturgeons
Hybrid sturgeons

Hybrid sturgeons, as with many animals, are bred to get the best from both parents and hopefully leave the bad behind. A very common sturgeon hybrid is a Bester, which is a cross between a Beluga and a Sterlet. This hybrid offers the growth of the Beluga and the early age of sexual maturity from the Sterlet (the good) and it leaves behind the bad, the Beluga's cannibalistic tendencies and the slow growth and poor caviar of the Sterlet.[This work is copyright © 2000-2019 www.sturgeon-web.co.uk]

Common hybrids:
  • Beluga (Huso huso) x Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus) - Bester
  • Diamond (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) x Adriatic (Acipenser naccarii)
  • Diamond (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) x Siberian (Acipenser baerii)
  • Diamond (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) x Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus)
  • Siberian (Acipenser baerii) x Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus)
  • Siberian (Acipenser baerii) x Adriatic (Acipenser naccarii) - Baccari
Diamond  Sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) x Adriatic Sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii) hybrid
Diamond Sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) x Adriatic Sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii) hybrid

Natural hybrids often occur in the wild, as many species share the same spawning grounds. One common natural hybrid is a cross between the Pallid (Scaphirhynchus albus) and the Shovelnose (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) which both spawn in the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. In the Volga River natural hybrids include a cross between the Diamond (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) and Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus) and a cross between the Diamond (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) and Stellate (Acipenser stellatus).[This work is copyright © 2000-2019 www.sturgeon-web.co.uk]

Hybrid Fertility

All sturgeon species can be crossed with each other but not all hybrids are fertile. Sturgeon species can be divided into two groups according to the number of chromosomes.[This work is copyright © 2000-2019 www.sturgeon-web.co.uk]

Group one is diploid, having ± 120 chromosomes:
  • Acipenser nudiventris
  • Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus
  • Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi
  • Acipenser ruthenus
  • Acipenser stellatus
  • Acipenser sturio
  • Huso dauricus
  • Huso huso
  • Polyodon spathula
  • Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi
  • Pseudoscaphirhynchus hermanni
  • Pseudoscaphirhynchus kaufmanni
  • Scaphirhynchus albus
  • Scaphirhynchus platorynchus
  • Scaphirhynchus suttkusi
Group two is tetraploid, having ± 240 chromosomes:
  • Acipenser baerii
  • Acipenser brevirostrum
  • Acipenser dabryanus
  • Acipenser fulvenscens
  • Acipenser gueldenstaedtii
  • Acipenser medirostris
  • Acipenser mikadoi
  • Acipenser naccarii
  • Acipenser persicus
  • Acipenser schrenckii
  • Acipenser sinensis
  • Acipenser transmontanus

Hybrids of species within the same group are fertile but cross breeding between the two groups produces triploid (160-180 chromosomes) hybrids which are sterile. Fertile hybrids can be cross bred again to produce even more variation, which makes the task of identifying hybrids quite difficult.[This work is copyright © 2000-2019 www.sturgeon-web.co.uk]

Diamond (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) x Siberian (Acipenser baerii) hybrid
Diamond Sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) x Siberian Sturgeon (Acipenser baerii) hybrid

Written by Terry White & Graham Quick