The three-spined stickleback is one of the most familiar fish of Britain's freshwater streams and ponds. The breeding behaviour of sticklebacks is unusual in that, for at least a while, the male looks after the eggs and young.

Overview

Illustration of a Three-spined SticklebackDistribution: there are eight species of stickleback throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The three- spined and ten-spined may be found in Britain.

Habitat: streams, ponds, ditches, rock pools & estuaries.

Description: small, fairly deep body. Three spines in front of the dorsal fin. Colour is normally mottled, brownish-green, paler on the underside. A breeding male has a bright red belly and blue eyes.

Size: length is about 6cm.

Life-span: about three years.

Food: mainly small water invertebrates; also fish eggs and young fish.

The three-spined stickleback is one of the most familiar fish of Britain's freshwater streams and ponds. It may even be found in salty rock pools and sometimes just under the surface of the open sea. Those in salty water are much more silvery in colour than those living in freshwater. The breeding behaviour of sticklebacks is unusual in that the male looks after the eggs and young, for at least a while, whereas most other fish show no parental care at all once the eggs have been laid.

Read More: Feeding

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