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Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin

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

Page 781

Brook Stickleback  781 
year (Lamsa 1963). In an upper Michigan tributary to 
Lake Superior, brook sticklebacks moved down- 
stream chiefly in winter (Manion 1977); movement 
increased in October, peaked in January then gradu- 
ally tapered off through May. Most migration thus 
took place when stream temperatures reached their 
annual lows, and when water levels were nearly 
  Headrick (1976) reported that, in central Wisconsin 
streams and ditches, the brook stickleback was abun- 
dant where bank vegetation trailed in the water in 
the presence of submergent Ranunculus, and where 
there was also a maximum density in watercress 
cover. Reed canary grass in upstream ditches was not 
good stickleback habitat because it sheltered brook 
trout which preyed on sticklebacks. 
  Sixty-four brook sticklebacks were collected from 
the South Branch of the Popple River (Florence 
County) along with white sucker (14), blacknose dace 
(28), creek chub (20), pearl dace (20), finescale dace 
(24), northern redbelly dace (69), bluntnose minnow 
(22), common shiner (46), brassy minnow (1), central 
mudminnow (5), johnny darter (3), and mottled 
sculpin (1). 
The brook stickleback is preyed upon by brook trout, 
smallmouth bass, northern pike, bowfin, yellow 
perch, largemouth bass, and walleye. It undoubtedly 
falls prey also to fish-eating birds, such as kingfish- 
ers, herons, terns, and mergansers. 
  The brook stickleback is a host species for the glo- 
chidial stage of the floater mussel, Anodonta grandis, 
hence helping to perpetuate that mussel. 
  In Wisconsin, the brook stickleback is not a pre- 
ferred bait species, and it has little direct economic 
significance. However, in many waters it is effective 
in the control of mosquitoes, for it feeds on the 
"wrigglers" and often lives in habitats that other 
fishes can not tolerate (Hubbs and Lagler 1964). 
  Brook sticklebacks make interesting aquarium fish, 
and as such could be used in behavior studies if a 
supply of live brine shrimp could be maintained to 
feed them. Reproductive behavior can be induced in 
the aquarium by following basic procedures (Reis- 
man 1961). However, because of its aggressive na- 
ture, the brook stickleback will kill other small fishes 
kept with it. 

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