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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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sturgeon of the family Acipenseridae, are primitive fish. They have shovel-like snouts, equipped with barbels, for rooting about in search of food (the German name, from which many others are derived, is from the verb stïrer, to root about). On their sides they have rows of bony scutes.

The species—about two dozen, all in the northern hemisphere—vary markedly in their habitats. Some live at sea and spawn in freshwater, while others are purely freshwater species. They are a resource of considerable value, especially for their caviar. The fact that culture of some species, at least to the extent of rearing young sturgeon in a protected environment, has proved possible increases their importance.