Stenodus leucichthys

Stenodus leucichthys is a species of freshwater whitefish in the family Salmonidae. In the strict sense its natural distribution is restricted to the Caspian Sea basin, and it is known as beloribitsa (literally meaning "the fish that is white" in Russian).[2] The beloribitsa is now considered extinct in the wild, but survives in cultured stocks.[2][3] The nelma (Stenodus nelma), a more widespread species of Eurasian and North America, is sometimes considered its subspecies.[4][5]

Stenodus leucichthys
Stenodus leucichthys.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Salmoniformes
Family: Salmonidae
Genus: Stenodus
S. leucichthys
Binomial name
Stenodus leucichthys
  • Salmo leucichthys Güldenstädt, 1772
  • Stenodus leucichthys leucichthys (Güldenstädt, 1772)
  • Salmo nelma (non Pallas, 1773)


Alternatively, the name Stenodus leucichtys has been used in a broader sense, referring to a widespread species composed of two subspecies.[3] In addition to the landlocked subspecies Stenodus leucichthys leucichthys, it comprises the nelma, Stenodus leucichthys nelma (Pallas, 1773) which lives in Eurasian and North American rivers of the Arctic basin. Nelma, also known as the sheefish or inconnu, is currently often considered as a distinct species Stenodus nelma.[2][4][6][5][7]

At a higher level, the genus Stenodus is not phylogenetically distinct from the broader lake whitefish genus Coregonus, although it is phenotypically characterized by a specialized predator morphology.[8]

Description and statusEdit

The fish has a large mouth with a protruding lower jaw and a high and pointed dorsal fin. It is generally silver in color with a green, blue or brown back. The meat is white, flaky and somewhat oily. An adult fish weighs from 14 to 25 kilograms (31 to 55 lb). The fish eat plankton for their first year of life and then become predators of smaller fish.[citation needed]

Beloribitsa used to inhabit particularly the Volga, Ural and Terek rivers, and migrate up to 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) upstream from the Caspian to their spawning grounds in the spring. Following the construction of dams and hydropower reservoirs, the migration and natural reproduction has been impeded, and the taxon is now considered as extinct in the wild by the IUCN.[2][9] The stock however survives in hatcheries and some populations are maintained by stocking.[4]


  1. ^ Freyhof, J.; Kottelat, M. (2008). "Stenodus leucichthys". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T20745A9229071. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T20745A9229071.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Freyhof, J.; Kottelat, M. (2008). "Stenodus leucichthys". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T20745A9229071. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T20745A9229071.en.
  3. ^ a b Belyaeva, E. S. "Stenodus leucichthys leucichthys". Archived from the original on 2013-07-03.
  4. ^ a b c Kottelat, M.; Freyhof, J. (2007). Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes. ISBN 978-2-8399-0298-4.
  5. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). Species of Stenodus in FishBase. February 2013 version.
  6. ^ Freyhof, J.; Kottelat, M. (2008). "Stenodus nelma". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T135545A4141935. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T135545A4141935.en.
  7. ^ Eschmeyer F. Catalog of Fishes (Search: Stenodus (species)) California Academy of Sciences. (15 March 2012 version)
  8. ^ Bernatchez L, Colombani F, Dodson JJ (1991) Phylogenetic relationships among the subfamily Coregoninae as revealed by mitochondrial DNA restriction analysis Journal of Fish Biology 39 (Suppl A):283-290.
  9. ^ Poursaeid, F. & Falahatkar, B. (2012) Threatened fishes of the world: Stenodus leucichthys leucichthys Güldenstädt, 1772 (Salmonidae). Aqua 18:31-34.

External linksEdit