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common name for members of the family Gasterosteidae, small fishes, widely distributed in both fresh- and saltwaters of the Northern Hemisphere. Sticklebacks range from 1 1-2 to 4 in. (3.7–10 cm) in length and lack true scales; they are equipped with short, strong spines in front of the dorsal and on the ventral fins, the number varying with the species. These are used as offensive and defensive weapons, often against other sticklebacks during the breeding season, when the male is brightly colored and pugnacious. Each male constructs a roofed nest by gluing together bits of vegetation with a sticky secretion from glands near the kidneys. Under his persuasion, several females deposit eggs in the nest, which he guards jealously until well after the young hatch. Sticklebacks feed on smaller invertebrates and on the fry and eggs of other fish. Best known are the three-spined, or common, stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, a coastal species, and the brook stickleback, Calaea inconstans, a smaller freshwater variety. Sticklebacks are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Gasterosteiformes, family Gasterosteidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



any fish of the family Gasterosteidae of the order Gasterosteiformes. There are five genera, distributed in the salt, brackish, and fresh waters of Europe, Asia, North America, and North Africa. The species found in the USSR are the fifteen-spined stickleback (Spinachia spinachia), the spined stickleback (Pungitius pungitius), and the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). The body is 3–20 cm long. There are between three and 16 spines on the back before the dorsal fin; there is one large spine on the ventral fin (hence the Latin name). During the breeding season the males construct nests from twigs, plant remains, sand, and silt, which they reinforce with mucus. Two or three females deposit approximately 1,000 eggs in a nest. The male guards the eggs and, later, the larvae. These fish feed on small crustaceans, insect larvae, and on the eggs and larvae of other fishes, thus causing some losses to the fishing industry. Their commercial value is not great. Three-spined sticklebacks (length, up to 12 cm; weight, up to 4 g), which are caught in some places in large quantities, are used for clarifying fat.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(vertebrate zoology)
Any fish which is a member of the family Gasterosteidae, so named for the variable number of free spines in front of the dorsal fin.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


any small teleost fish of the family Gasterosteidae, such as Gasterosteus aculeatus (three-spined stickleback) of rivers and coastal regions and G. pungitius (ten-spined stickleback) confined to rivers. They have a series of spines along the back and occur in cold and temperate northern regions
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Resident-freshwater threespine stickleback, Dolly Varden, and ninespine stickleback were the only species captured alone at sites.
albiflora transcriptome were compared with protein database of zebra fish, fugu, medaka and three-spined stickleback by using BLASTx program with and e-value cutoff of 1e-5.
Virulence of the cestode Schistocephalus solidus and reproduction in infected threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus.
spinachia, we first amplified microsatellite loci using PCR primers developed previously for the threespine stickleback (Rico et al.
Female mate choice and male red coloration in a natural stickleback population.
Even if having the three capacities are severally necessary and jointly sufficient for a sort of "using information" that the stickleback does and the tick does not do, this does not imply that the capacities can only be possessed together, or that they must be possessed in order to consciously perceive.
The importance of individual recognition in the stickleback was demonstrated by Peeke and Veno (1973), who observed that a resident male that had been habituated to an intruder presented in a glass cylinder would resume aggressive behavior if the individual in the cylinder was changed.
The three-spined stickleback dad builds a special nest for his babies.
MY dad was a mining man He mined coal from the coal fields of Northumberland As a child I would hold his hand looking at the blue scars and a bullet wound he had He never complained of being ill I still remember washing his back of coal dust and the cuts where the stone from the mine dug in, He said just wash them son just wash them I am a miner's son, we had hardship illness and fun Sliding down a slag heap on a bit of conveyor belting or corrugated tin, It wasn't a race you could win, you just dragged it up and did it again and again Between the slag heap and the farmer's field, was a stream were stickleback fish would swim, Catch them put them in a jar with string around the neck What fun we had fishing in that beck.
Asda has the Heartland Stickleback range in at the minute.