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Inconnu (sheefish) (Stenodus leucichthys nelma)

This is the only true predator among the whitefishes, although it cannot swallow big prey. In Asia, the inconnu lives in big Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean. On the Asian side of the Pacific, the inconnu is found only in the Anadyr River. It is also present in several of the Alaska rivers flowing into the Bering Sea.

Inconnu (sheefish)

Inconnu (sheefish)

In the Caspian Sea and in the Ural and Volga Rivers, a separate subspecies of nelma lives, now almost extinct. In some lakes and reservoirs, and possibly in some rivers, it forms a resident form.

Compared to other whitefish, the inconnu has massive head with flat forehead and very small teeth. They can get huge: the length up to 160 cm, and the weight up to 49 kg. These long-living fish do not mature until they are 10–14 years old, by the length of 70-80 cm. Unfortunately the numbers of inconnu are decreasing in most Siberian rivers due to excessive legal and illegal fishing.

Ilya Sherbovich