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fish Three-spined Sticklebacks

Identify It >   Freshwater Wildlife Section >   Three-spined Sticklebacks >

three-spined stickleback

Scientific name:  Gasterosteus aculeatus

Size:  Up to 10cm long

Distribution:  Found throughout the UK

Months seen:  All year round

Life Span:  Approximately 3 years

Habitat:  Ponds, lakes, slow moving streams and rivers with fresh or brackish water

Food:  Aquatic insects and crustaceans

Special features:  Sticklebacks (sometimes called Tiddlers) are our smallest freshwater fish, usually being less than 5cm long.  The name comes from the arrangement of spines along the top of the fish in front of the dorsal fin.

During the breeding season the male has a bright orange belly.  He builds a tunnel shaped nest on the bottom of his habitat and lures the female inside so she can lay her eggs there, after which he fertilises them.

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