Today I encountered a fish that I’ve never seen “in person” before, but I knew exactly what it was. This species is easily identified by the four to six spikes on its back.
The Brook Stickleback has a pugnacious attitude. It aggressively defends its small territory from other fish. Despite its toughness, it is small and only grows to about two inches.
Its unique dorsal fin composed of an average of 5 short, isolated, backswept spines – followed by a more typical-looking back fin. This feature makes it distinguishable from all other Ohio fish.
In Northeast Ohio they can be found in small streams. They prefer cold, clear water with submerged vegetation. Sticklebacks eat tiny aquatic insects and crustaceans. They help control mosquitoes by eating the insect’s larvae.
The Brook Stickleback is a nest building species. Males have the ability to produce mucous from their kidneys, which they use to bind together a nest made out of bits of vegetation.
This fish is proof positive that very cool creatures sometimes come in rather small packages.