Pseudoscaphirhynchus hermanni 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Acipenseriformes Acipenseridae

Scientific Name: Pseudoscaphirhynchus hermanni
Species Authority: (Kessler, 1877)
Common Name(s):
English Dwarf Sturgeon, Little Shovelnose Sturgeon, Little Amu-Darya Shovelnose, Small Amu-dar Shovelnose Sturgeon
French Petit Nez-Pelle de Lamoucou Daria
Pseudoscaphirhynchus hermani (Severtzov, 1877)
Scaphirhynchus hermanni Kessler, 1877

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2c ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-24
Assessor(s): Mugue, N.
Reviewer(s): Pourkazemi, M. & Smith, K.
Information for the species is limited though there are current unconfirmed reports of fishermen (poachers) catching the species. The species is only found in the middle Amu Darya and has been extirpated from the Aral Sea and lower Amu Darya due to water abstraction. Water pollution and poaching is also a threat to the species. The species' extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be around 100,000 km². The location of its spawning grounds are uncertain.

Its generation length is estimated to be 3-8 years as it is a smaller species than other similar sturgeons. There are no published estimates of population sizes or declines, but there has been a decline as its range declined drastically in the past 30 years, and due to poor economic status the level of poaching in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan is thought to be increasing. However, water quality has improved as the amount of chemicals used in agriculture has declined.

There is very little information available for this species, but based on the data that is available and on the status of P. kaufmanni which shares the species range and has similar biology and susceptibility, it is suspected that there has been a population decline of more than 80% in the past 3 generations. Also, the species is thought to occur in less than 500 km of river (one location based on threats of poaching and pollution).

There is a critical need to survey the species from both the Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan sides of the river, as more information is needed.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Critically Endangered (CR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to the Amu Darya River (middle and lower reaches) (Birstein 1997).
Countries occurrence:
Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 500
Number of Locations: 1
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is very rare; in April 1996 three specimens were caught for the first time in the last 15 years (Birstein 1997). However, there are current unconfirmed reports of local fishermen (poachers) catching the species.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The habitat and ecology of the Small Amu-dar Shovelnose Sturgeon are practically unknown (FAO 2009). Adults are benthophagous, feeding mostly on midge larvae. This species may possibly hybridize with P. kaufmanni (Birstein 1997).
Systems: Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 3-8
Movement patterns: Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is poached for human consumption.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In the past, the Amu Darya River entered the Aral Sea near the town of Muynak (Amu Darya River delta) but since 1982, due to dams and water extraction (primarily for irrigation), the river has not reached the Sea (Birstein 1997, Zholdasova 1997). There are also high levels of water pollution recorded from the Amu Darya River due to mineral fertilizers, pesticides for cotton agriculture and the disposal of drainage waste, with the highest level of pollution in the lower reaches of the Amu Darya River, though between 1989-1990 a decrease in pesticide content in the Amu-Darya water was noticed (Zholdasova 1997).

Poaching is a threat to the remaining population.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Part of the species' range is within a nature reserve (Amu Darya Nature Reserve). During the carrying out of the recovery plan for P. kaufmanni, it will be possible to make an estimation of the status of P. hermanni. More survey work is needed to determine the status of the population (Birstein 1997). This species was listed on CITES Appendix II in 1998.

Citation: Mugue, N. 2010. Pseudoscaphirhynchus hermanni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T18600A8497165. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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