Sticklebacks & armoured sticklebacks

Stickleback-Gasterosteus_aculeatusAlthough they don’ t resemble seahorses or pipefishes at first glance, sticklebacks are related to them. These fishes have also evolved to lose their scales in favor of bony armored plates. Consisting of five genera and about 15 species, the sticklebacks are ferociously territorial and actively guard their nests and eggs from competitors and predators.

Sticklebacks are common in northern temperate marine and coastal freshwater environments. One species, the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), has a distribution across the northern hemisphere and is used as a model organism in many genomic and behavioural studies investigating evolutionary processes.

The armoured sticklebacks of the family Indostomidae are more heavily armored and have elongated bodies. They inhabit freshwater in Southeast Asia. Two out of three species have been recently discovered in the murky waters of the Mekong, and there may be more to be found.

Get to know these species better by clicking on their various profile links below.

Gasterosteidae (Sticklebacks)

Photo Name, Authority Common
Name(s)
IUCN Red List Status Profile Range
Apeltes_quadracus_cyric_CCBYNCSA3.0  Apeltes quadracus,
(Mitchill 1815)
Fourspine
stickleback
LC  logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl  NE Atlantic
 Culaea_inconstans_KentMiller_CCBYND Culaea inconstans,
(Kirtland 1840)
Brook
stickleback
LC >logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Temperate N. America
 Gasterosteus_aculeatus_DonLoarie_CCBYNCSA3.0 Gasterosteus aculeatus,
Linnaeus 1758
Three-spined stickleback LC >logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Circum-Arctic
& Temperate
 g_crenobiontus G. crenobiontus,
Bacescu & Mayer, 1758
Techirghiol stickleback EX >logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Lake
Techirghiol,
Romania
h.waleananus G. wheatlandi,
Putnam, 1867
Blackspotted stickleback NE logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl N. America
 Pungitius_bussei Pungitius bussei,
(Warpachowski, 1888)
None NE logo_eolGBIFurl Amur River,
Russia
h.waleananus P. hellenicus,
Stephanidis 1971
Greek Ninespine stickleback CR >logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Greece
h.waleananus P. platygaster,
(Kessler, 1859)
Ukrainian
stickleback
LC “>logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Eurasian
Freshwater
h.waleananus P. polyakovi,
Shedko, Shedko
& Pietsch 2005
None NE >logo_eolGBIFurl Sakhalin Island,
Russia
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA P. pungitius,
(Linnaeus 1758)
Ninespine
stickleback
LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Europe
& N. America
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA P. sinensis,
(Guichenot 1869)
Amur
stickleback
NE logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl E. Asia
h.waleananus P. stenurus,
(Kessler 1876)
None NE logo_eolGBIFurl NE Asia
Pungitius_tymensis_Opencage_CCBYSA P. tymensis,
(Nikolskii 1889)
Sakhalin
stickleback
NE logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl NE Asia
Spinachia_spinachia_Biopix_CCBYNC Spinachia spinachia,
(Linnaeus 1758)
Sea stickleback NE logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Coastal Europe

Indostomidae (Armoured Sticklebacks)

Photo Name, Authority Common
Name(s)
Red List Status Profile Range
h.waleananus Indostomus crocodilus,
Britz & Kottelat 1999
Armoured
stickleback
VU >logo_eolGBIFurl Thailand
Indostomus_paradoxus_eric_CCBY I. paradoxus,
Prashad &
Mukerji 1929
Paradox fish LC >logo_eolGBIFurl SE Asia
Indostomus_spinosus_ChavalitVidthayanon I. spinosus,
Britz & Kottelat 1999
 None NE logo_eolGBIFurl NE Asia

IUCN Red List key: 

EX=Extinct EW=Extinct in the Wild CR=Critically Endangered EN=Endangered VU=Vulnerable NT=Near Threatened LC=Least Concern DD=Data Deficient NE=Not Evaluated

(Click here for a full explanation of IUCN Red List categories.)

A note on ‘Data Deficient’ species: Species that are assessed as Data Deficient are deemed to have insufficient information known about them to carry out a proper conservation assessment. Although such species are not assessed as threatened, we may find out that they in fact are, once enough data is obtained.

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