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Three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus
Three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Gasterosteiformes
Family: Gasterosteidae


File:Faroe stamp 248 stickleback (gasterosteus aculeatus).gif

The Gasterosteidae are a family of fish including the sticklebacks. FishBase currently recognises sixteen species in the family, grouped in five genera. However several of the species have a number of recognised subspecies, and the taxonomy of the family is thought to be in need of revision. Although some authorities give the common name of the family as "sticklebacks and tube-snouts", the tube-snouts are currently classified in the related family Aulorhynchidae.

An unusual features of sticklebacks is that they have no scales, although some species have bony armour plates. They are related to pipefish and seahorses.

Stickleback species are found in fresh water environments in Europe, Asia and North America. They feed on small crustaceans and fish larvae.[1]

Sticklebacks are distinguished by the presence of strong and clearly isolated spines in the dorsal fin. All species show a similar mating behaviour, which is also unusual among fishes. The males construct a nest from vegetation held together by secretions from their kidneys. The males then attract females to the nest who lay their eggs inside where the male can fertilise them. The male then guards the eggs until they hatch.[1]

Three-spined sticklebackEdit

The family includes the three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus aculeatus, common in northern temperate climates around the world including Europe, most of northern North America and Japan and colloquially known in United Kingdom as the "tiddler", or "sprick".[2] In the Republic of Ireland they are commonly known as "pinkeens" due to the reddish colour of the male three spined stickleback's throat during breeding season. Niko Tinbergen's studies of the behaviour of this fish were important in the early development of ethology as an example of a fixed action pattern.

Species Edit


Learning in the sticklebackEdit

Memory in the sticklebackEdit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Orr, James W. & Pietsch, T.W. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N. Encyclopedia of Fishes, 171–172, San Diego: Academic Press.
  2. Irish poetry Ulster Scots

External linksEdit

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