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Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin

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

Page 783

Ninespine Stickleback   783 
Pungitius pungitius 
1973). The account which follows was taken from 
these sources, unless otherwise indicated. 
  The ninespine stickleback begins spawning in early 
June in Lake Superior. The first spent females were 
observed on 6 June. By the end of July, all but 1 of 38 
fish were spent, and that 1 was partly spent. In 
aquariums, spawning activity was most frenzied when 
the water temperature was 11-12'C (51.8-53.6'F). 
  In the Apostle Islands, the only substratum in 
which territories were established and successful 
nesting took place was in highly organic bottom muds. 
It was over these muds, at depths of 16-40 m, that 
gravid females and males in breeding condition were 
collected by trawl in the lake. Nests built in this sub- 
stratum were simple burrows about 1 cm diam and 
3-4 cm long. The nests had one opening; fish enter- 
ing the nest for spawning went in head first, turned 
around, and deposited their sex products. Males en- 
tered the nests to fertilize the eggs immediately after 
the female had vacated it. Males commonly spawned 
twice, usually with different females; one male was 
Range of the ninespine stickleback 
0 Specimens examined 
A Wisconsin Fish Distribution Study (1974-75) 
o Literature and reports 
o Greene (1935) 
observed spawning with three different partners. Fe- 
males always spawned twice within a period of 6-48 
hours; and two female acts were with different males. 
  In Lake Huron (McKenzie and Keenleyside 1970), 
most ninespine stickleback nests are built under or 
between rocks, and are distributed from 25 to 150 cm 
from shore at depths of 25-80 cm. A few nests are 
built in relatively exposed locations, such as in sur- 
face pits of large rocks or very close to shore; most of 
these are eventually destroyed by wave action. Suc- 
cessful nests are well hidden among rocks and are 
not exposed to turbulence. Nests consisting entirely 
of algae fragments are found under rocks and in 
crevices between rocks; the algae is loosely packed 
together with leaf fragments and rootlets. The male, 
who constructs the nest alone, bores into this mass, 
probably gluing it from the inside with secretions from 
his kidneys. He pushes and mends the outside of the 
nest, but no external gluing has been observed. Sand 
digging in which the male picks up substrate mate- 
rial from the floor of the nest in his mouth and spits 

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