Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 22, pp 18554–18562 | Cite as

Identifying major events in two sturgeons’ life using pectoral fin spine ring structure: exploring the use of a non-destructive method

  • Shima BakhshalizadehEmail author
  • Ali Bani
  • Shahram Abdolmalaki
  • Natalie Moltschaniwskyj
Research Article


Maturation is one of the most important life history traits that influences on many ecological characteristics of animals. This study aimed to describe the indirect distinguish of first reproduction and habitat shift (transition from the pelagic to benthic environment), using the width of translucent and annuluses of the pectoral fin spine of two sturgeon species, Persian sturgeon, Acipenser persicus, and starry sturgeon, Acipenser stellatus. Interpretation of growth bands in pectoral fin sections was done objectively using direct reading of thin sections and image analysis. The results showed that changes in the profiles of translucent and annuluses occurred at the time of habitat shift and first reproduction. Females of both sturgeons move to the deeper waters earlier than males, which can be considered as strategy for the prolonged gonad development of female individuals. Estimated age at maturity for A. persicus (9 years for female and 7 years for male) was higher than A. stellatus (7 years for female and 6 years for male), which coincide with abrupt reduction in annuli width. Marks of habitat shift and first reproduction in the pectoral fin spine are species-specific characters and enable life history traits to be identified.


Age at maturation Endangered species Habitat change Long-lived fish 



All applicable institutional and/or national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. We would like to thank Professors J. Panfili, G. Cailliet, F. Jamalzad Fallah, and M. McCormick for constructive suggestions. We also thank R. Rastin for his assistance in the preparation of fin spin sections, R. Nahrevar for a second reading of fin spin sections, and A. Pourebrahimi and G. Alavi for his assistance in preparing the figures. Sampling authorization was given by the Madar Khaviari sector of the Iranian Fisheries Organization. We would also like to thank H. Dadari, A. Alinejad, M. Ataee, A. Qavidel, F. Shakori, A. Kor, G. Salehi, S. Bakhshalizadeh, and K. Bakhshalizadeh for their assistance in the collection of the fish. This research was supported by the University of Guilan.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of GuilanRashtIran
  2. 2.Department of Marine Science, Caspian Sea Basin Research CenterUniversity of GuilanRashtIran
  3. 3.International Sturgeon Research InstituteRashtIran
  4. 4.Fisheries ResearchDepartment of Primary IndustriesNelson BayAustralia

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