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Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Gasterosteus aculeatus Linnaeus, 1758

Diagnosis: 3 (modally) free spines before the dorsal fin. Pelvic fin with an erectile spine and one ray. Body covered with a varying number of scutes; simplistically, the more saline the water, the greater the number of scutes. Spine length is similarly affected. Size: rarely grows to more than 8 cm SL.

Habitat: fresh waters, estuaries and coastal seas. A shoaling species outside the breeding season, especially when young. Food: invertebrates and small fishes. Reproduction: the eggs are deposited into a nest built by the male. The spawning takes place in April-May-June.

Distribution: circumpolar from about 35° to 70° N. In the sea, confined to coastal waters. In fresh waters, present in most of the European rivers except in much of the Danube system. In Spanish rivers, present only in the lower reaches.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. A. Agassiz, 1882: 288, pl. IX | Ehrenbaum, 1904: 174-177, pl. V (fig. 48) & VI (fig. 50); 1905: | 318-I 319, fig. 1l5a-b | Kuntz & Radcliffe, 1918: 130-132, fig. 113-121 | Bigelow & Schroeder, 1953: fig. 167 (egg), 169-170 (larva, from Kuntz & Radcliffe) | Nest: Coste, 1848 | Warington, 1852 | Ransom, 1865 | Wilkins, 1881.
Otoliths (sagitta). Tylova, 1927: fig. 33 | Frost, 1929b: 263, pl. III (fig. 29) | Chaine, 1958: 209-212, pl. [Vll] (2nd row, from top).

Stickleback (threespined stickleback) (Gasterosteus aculeatus)