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Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin

Stickleback family - gasterosteidae,   pp. 775-786 PDF (5.3 MB)

Page 778

778    Stickleback Family-Gasterosteidae 
  Culaea inconstans                          A 
  outside of this temperature range, nest building and 
  courtship are seriously impaired. In addition to a 
  suitable water temperature, the environmental re- 
  quirements for successful spawning include vegeta- 
  tion for nest construction and clear water for court- 
  ship displays (Winn 1960, MacLean and Gee 1971). 
  During the spring, adult brook sticklebacks move 
from deep, cold water into shallow, warm water, 
where they establish territories and start to build 
nests. According to Winn (1960), the territories are 
defended against individuals of a reasonable size and 
of most species, including darters and trout. Rather 
narrow boundaries exist between the territories, 
which the male sticklebacks are able to recognize. A 
male, chasing another male, often crosses his 
boundary and thus in turn is chased. Ritualized 
fighting, called "lateral display," has been identified 
and described by Reisman and Cade (1967:267): 
... [It] consisted of a parallel head-to-head or head-to-tail 
orientation with simultaneous fluttering of the bodies and 
with the dorsal and ventral spines maximally erect. It was 
                   Range of the brook stickleback 
 1                    Specimens examined 
                   A Wisconsin Fish Distribution Study (1974-75) 
                   0 Literature and reports 
                   0 Greene (1935) 
 usually followed by a very quick attack by one of the fish 
 and an equally rapid counterattack by the other. Such at- 
 tacks were sometimes followed immediately by a reorien- 
 tation of the fish into the lateral display . . . this display 
 occurred only between territorial males, which always 
 darkened in color during the display and attack and 
 showed conspicuous black vertical bands through their 
   In general, the brook sticklebacks' nests are roughly 
globular in shape, 1.5-5.0 cm diam, and are con- 
structed by the males of organic debris, filamentous 
algae, and other materials (Winn 1960). The nests are 
usually attached to a stem somewhere between the 
bottom and more than 0.3 m above the bottom. They 
increase in size over the season as eggs are added 
and as the male adds material to the nest. The bottom 
where nests are located varies from organic debris to 
sand and various mixtures of both. Some nests ob- 
served in Lake Michigan were attached to Scirpus 
stalks and to blades of grass bound together. A pre- 
ferred building site is Chara. The nesting materials 
ý_ 1-1 

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