Fisheries and Land Resources

Four-spined Stickleback

Apeltes quadracus


Native to both Newfoundland and Labrador.


Generally confined to coastal areas of eastern North America, mostly near shore marine species; however, some inland populations occur in lakes in Nova Scotia and in Delaware in the U.S.


Usually found in brackish (salty) waters near the coast. It occurs in the Atlantic Provinces and Quebec.


Sticklebacks eat any food available, including worms, small drowned insects, fish eggs, crustaceans, and larvae.

Breeding Biology

Spawn in spring or early summer (May-July). Males and females appear on the spawning beds and then divide into separate groups. Males build nests of aquatic plants and twigs bound together in a cup-shaped basket in shallow drainage channels. The basket is held together by thread-like kidney secretions.

A male will attract a female through a mating dance; swimming in extremely fast circles around or in front of her. At intervals he will stop and display his red pelvic fins. Females lay eggs in clusters of 30 to 40. the female is driven off when spawning is complete. The male aerates the eggs through two small holes on either side of the nest.


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