How many spines does a stickleback have?

Sticklebacks are small, elongated fishes that reach a maximum length of about 18 cm (7 inches). The members of the family are characterized by a row of 2 to 16 spines on the back, which are positioned in front of a soft-rayed dorsal fin.

What makes stickleback fish unique?

In as few as ten generations — an evolutionary blink of an eye — marine sticklebacks can swap their armoured plates and defensive spines for a lighter, smoother freshwater form.

Why is 3 stickleback Red?

Nonreproductive males and females are cryptically colored, but at the beginning of the breeding season males develop conspicuous carotenoid-based orange–red courtship coloration on their throat and belly (Bakker and Mundwiler 1994), which has been studied extensively.

How big is a three-spined stickleback?

2 to 4 inches
The three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) is widespread in the Northern Hemisphere in fresh and salt water. It is 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) long and has three dorsal spines. The nine-spined stickleback (Pungitius pungitius), a species that is similar in size to G.…

Do sticklebacks have teeth?

Stickleback pharyngeal teeth resemble oral teeth morphologically in whole-mount and in histological sections, and molecularly by gene expression patterns.

Why do sticklebacks have spines?

The many stickleback populations underwent disparate and parallel evolutionary changes, among them partial or complete loss of their pelvic spines. These spines are thought to protect the fish from being devoured by predators.

What adaptations does a stickleback have?

Oceanic stickleback are protected by a complete set of bony lateral plates along the sides and dorsal and pelvic spines on the top and bottom of the fish. These structures help the fish survive attacks by birds and other fish-eating predators.

In what ways do sticklebacks adapt to their environment?

Marine sticklebacks have undergone an adaptive radiation with freshwater forms evolving repeatedly and independently at many different places. Using these powerful replicates of the evolutionary process, research is identifying the common molecular changes underlying adaptation and speciation.

What do three-spined stickleback eat?

The three-spined stickleback is a small fish found in ponds, lakes, ditches and rivers. It is an aggressive predator, feeding on invertebrates and other small animals, including tadpoles and smaller fish.

How long do sticklebacks live for?

Life-span: about three years. Food: mainly small water invertebrates; also fish eggs and young fish.

How do spines protect stickleback fish?

in the form of bony plates and spines projecting from the back and pelvis. When threatened, a stickleback can simultaneously flare out its pair of pelvic spines and three dorsal spines, making it difficult for predators to swallow them.

What do sticklebacks look like?

The three-spined stickleback has a brownish back and silvery sides and belly. In spring, males develop a red throat and belly, and bright green flanks. Living up to its name, it can be identified by the three sharp spines on its back.