Re: NANFA-- brook stickleback?
Thu, 28 Sep 2000 01:08:36 EDT

In a message dated 9/25/00 7:28:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< I would love to see some brook sticklebacks. I've seen
pictures only and they are handsome fish, aren't they? I read that
they are inland critters. I also read that they, too, have the armor
plates but that the plates are small and it's not as easy to see them
in the live fish. Let me know if that's true in your guys. I
understand the brook males do the elaborate breeding ritual and nest
caretaking, too. I was amazed the first time our guys raised babies
in our tanks. They were extremely crafty in gluing down the eggs and
making the nest look invisible to us alien predator types (as opposed
to all the drawings in books that I had seen, of course!) >>

Yes, they are handsome; when the male is in breeding condition, in contrast
to other stickleback species, turns dusky green to black; all of the males I
saw were a vivid black, instead of red bellied like the other species. The
bony plates are minute and are only along the lateral line. I got a unique
birds' eye view of a male guarding his nest; I happened to find one right
under the edge of a steel pipe which justted from the roadside where a
roadside stream-irrigation ditch crossed the road and ran along the edge of
my neighbors' property. I could lay down lengthwise on my belly and observe
the male circling the nest with the tiny babies swimming around near it; he
even chased away another fish that was approaching from further inside the
pipe. I first noticed him because I happened to look down there and see him
turned sideways hovering near his bird-like nest built at the top of some
plants. I didn't recognize what kind of fish he was at first because of the
odd angles in which he was turning his body and the fact that it was somewhat
dark. He seemed to be inspecting his nest from all angles. That was the first
and only time I have witnessed this behaviour in the wild and I feel
fortunate because of it.

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