Fisheries and Land Resources

Nine-spined Stickleback

Pungitius pungitius


Native to Newfoundland and Labrador.


Usually found in shallow vegetated areas of lakes, ponds, and pools of sluggish streams. Marine populations live near shore and move into freshwater to spawn.


All provinces and territories of Canada.


Worms, small drowned insects, fish eggs, crustaceans, and larvae


Nine short dorsal spines angled alternately to left and right; gray to olive above with dark mottling on the sides and silver below.

Breeding Biology

Spawns in fresh water, more than once in a season. Males are black and less aggressive than females. Males build nests in weedy patches, using fragments of aquatic vegetation bound together by kidney secretions. The nest is tunnel shaped with an opening at each end.

A male uses a courtship dance to entice females to his nest. The female will lay 20 to 30 eggs, then be chased away by the male when she exits the nest. The male will guard the nest and spend considerable time fanning the nest openings with its fins. As many as seven females will be encouraged to deposit their eggs in the same nest.


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