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 Scientific Name Common
Name
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 LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl N. America
 Pungitius_bussei Pungitius bussei
(Warpachowski, 1888)
None DD 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 NT 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
VU logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl E. Asia
h.waleananus P. stenurus
(Kessler, 1876)
EN logo_eolGBIFurl NE Asia
Pungitius_tymensis_Opencage_CCBYSA P. tymensis
(Nikolskii, 1889)
Sakhalin
stickleback
DD logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl NE Asia
Spinachia_spinachia_Biopix_CCBYNC Spinachia spinachia
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Sea stickleback LC logo_wikilogo_eolGBIFurl Coastal Europe

Indostomidae (Armoured Sticklebacks)

Photo Scientific Name Common
Name
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
NT 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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