Fish and other aquatic creatures

Three-needle stickleback - description and behavior


Rivers, lakes and oceans are inhabited by thousands of species of various creatures, including fish. Many have probably heard about stickie. This tiny fish, with a very decent appetite, is able to translate all other species in reservoirs. She eats in large quantities caviar and even fry. These are very interesting creatures with unusual looks and behavior.

What kind of fish is stickleback?

The name brings together a whole family of ray-finned fish. It includes five genera and about eight species. All representatives have spikes located in front of the dorsal fin. The scales of these fish are completely absent. The ventral fin is not at all and can be represented by one thorn and one or two soft rays. In case of danger or when attacked by a predator, the stickleback spreads out all its sharp thorns, and they pierce it.

Fish loves places with a quiet current, muddy bottom and shores overgrown with grass. Basically, all species are kept in large mobile flocks. This sometimes makes fishing difficult, because at the slightest movement the whole school can be thrown at an object that has fallen into the water.


Stickleback is a fish adapted to various habitats. They can be marine, brackish and freshwater. Thus, the little stickleback lives in the desalinated areas of the Azov, Caspian and Black Seas, the lower reaches of the Dnieper and some other rivers that flow into them. Three-needle and nine-needle species are found throughout almost all of Europe. In Russia, it can be seen in the rivers flowing into the White and Baltic Sea, as well as in the lakes of the Leningrad region. Sea fish - coastal fish. It is found in Western Europe on the rocky shores of the Biscay and Finnish bays, in northern Norway and in the Baltic Sea.


Prickle spawns in early spring (April-May), and at this time its coloring gets brighter shades. Spawning lasts for a month, and in a nine-needle until the end of July. This is quite prolific fish. Stickleback builds a nest at the bottom, the male is engaged in it. Initially, he pulls out a hole, picking up sand in his mouth and gently taking it to the side. Then he brings various blades of grass and pieces of algae, and with the help of mucus secreted on the sides of the body, he sticks everything together into a tight lump in which he pierces a tunnel. In the finished form, in the three-needle stickleback, the nest is practically buried in silt (in the photo), while in the nine-needle stick it is fixed on the plants with which it merges in color. The size of such a home on average with a male fist.

A male invites the female into the nest, where she lays eggs (100-120 pcs.), And then her partner “expels” her. After fertilization, he guards the nest, and then the fry for 10-14 days. A stickleback is a fish whose offspring are constantly under threat from their own parents. First, the female is fully capable of eating caviar, and then the male, after guarding, can swallow several fry. It is noteworthy that at the time of spawning, the esophagus is overgrown with it.

Three-needle fish stickleback

It received its name due to the spines located on the back, there are only three of them (this can be seen in the photo). Spikes have different sizes. On the sides of the body are bone plates (24-30 pieces), they, in fact, replace the scales. They can also be seen on the back, where they are located to the caudal fin from the nape. The size of adult fish is 5-6 cm in length. The sides and belly have a silvery color, and the back is greenish-brown. There are two types of fish: freshwater and passing. Most individuals of the first type die after spawning.

Despite its small size, the stickleback is an extremely voracious fish. In the ponds where she lives, it is difficult to breed any other kind. The diet of sticklefish is quite diverse - from zoo and phytoplankton to benthos (crustaceans, larvae, worms). In addition, the fish eat airborne insects, larvae, eggs, and even fry of other underwater inhabitants. As already mentioned, the course can even go to their own offspring.

Economic value

Previously, this small fish hunted on the Baltic, White and Azov Seas, as well as on Kamchatka. She received fish oil and high-grade meal flour. In addition, the stickleback was used as animal feed, as well as a fertilizer for the fields. In besieged Leningrad, carotenoid-rich fish oil was used in hospitals for the treatment of wounds and the treatment of burns.

At present, stickleback is a fish, the economic value of which is very small. She eats absolutely everything, thereby having a negative impact on the offspring of valuable commercial species.

Small southern stickleback

Saline or freshwater benthic species reaches 6 cm in length. Such fish is widespread in Asia, Europe, there is an isolated population in Greece - the Aliakmon and Vardar river basins. The stickleback is kept, as a rule, in low-flow areas rich in vegetation. The body of the fish is high and compressed at the sides. The color is brown-green, and the belly is silvery, sometimes with a yellowish tinge. Scattered across the body are stripes and spots, giving the impression of a marble pattern.

Nine-spiny stickle

The species is not much larger than the previous one (the length is 5-7 cm long). Regardless of what size adult fish stickleback, commercial and economic value, it does not matter. This species has a flattened side and an elongated body, as well as large eyes (in the second photo). The back can have a gray-greenish color up to a brown tint, the belly is light silver. The color changes in males during spawning. The belly and sides are black, and the spines are white. This is a migratory species common in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans, in the Great Lakes Basin.

If we talk about what scary fish is afraid of, it is worth mentioning freshwater (perch, pike, pike perch, catfish, burbot, chub) and marine (herring, Baltic herring, bullheads, etc.) predators. Also, they can feed on snakes, marsh turtles, frogs, birds of prey and some mammals. It all depends on the habitat.

Sea stickleback

The second name is the fifteenth. It is characterized by the presence on the back from 14 to 16 small spines. The body of the fish has a slender, spindly, with a thin and long tail stem. The back is different greenish-brown color, and the sides - golden. Of interest is the color of the males during spawning - they become blue. The size of an adult individual reaches up to 20 cm in length. Behavior is more separate - do not gather in flocks, unlike other species.

Stork thistle

Distributed in small rivers and lakes of the north of the United States. Before the dorsal fin has from 4 to 6 (most often 5) spines. In length it grows up to 6 cm. It is quite an active and numerous species. Males in the mating season change ordinary color to bright red. The rest of the habits and the characteristic way of behavior with offspring are the same as that of the three-pointed stickleback.

Monument to kolyushka

The whole sculpture is located in Kronstadt. The monument was erected in 2005. A small monument represents metal waves and three small fish attached to them. Nearby on the memorial plaque you can see the lines of the poem “The blockade carriage” by the poetess M. Aminova.

Therefore, to the question of whether such a fish is a stickleback, every inhabitant of Peter will answer you affirmatively. Perhaps even give a good recipe for its preparation. A small fish in a terrible blockade saved more than one thousand lives.


The three-needle stickleback is a very small fish. Her body reaches a length of only about ten to twelve centimeters, and weight - about four, although occasionally there are larger individuals.

The body of the three-needle stickleback is usually slim and elongated, and also compressed from the sides. The body is protected from enemies. Representatives of this species look like this: next to the dorsal fin they have spikes-thorns (there are three of them with a three-pointed stickleback), and on the abdomen there are a pair of needles replacing the sticklebacks. Also, the coarse pelvic bones on the abdomen at one time formed a kind of shield in the fish.

In addition, another interesting feature of these fish is that they have no scales - it is replaced by several dozen transverse plates (usually from 20 to 40). The same plates are in the back, which has a greenish-brown color. But the belly of the three-needle thorn has a silver color, while the breast is red (during the breeding period, the pale red color changes to bright red, and the back color turns to bright green).


The three-needle stickleback prefers slow-moving reservoirs, and, moreover, can live in both fresh and slightly brackish water. So, these small fishes choose small sizes of the river, lakes rich in holes, ditches with overgrown reeds and grass banks and oozy as the habitats.

Sticky people prefer to keep large flocks. At the same time they are in constant motion and actively rush to any object that has fallen into the reservoir. Therefore, these fussy numerous fish often hinder fishermen during fishing.

Enemies stickleback

Due to the presence of thorn thorns and needles in the area of ​​the belly, it can defend itself against enemies. The main enemies of this small fish are predators, such as pike or pike perch. If a predatory fish tries to catch a stickleback, the last one scatters its thorns and spikes, and they pierce the hunter's mouth.
Also, sometimes birds try to eat with stickies, for example, seagulls.

Spread this fish

The three-needle stickleback is common in reservoirs of almost all European countries: rivers, freshwater lakes. It is also found in northern latitudes, in North America.

On the territory of Russia, a three-pointed sticklet can be found in Siberia and the Far East, in particular, in Kamchatka. Very rarely, this fish can be found in rivers in the territory of the European part of Russia, although fishermen occasionally find a three-needle stickleback, for example, in Lake Onega, and more rarely in the Volga River delta.

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This type of fish can be found both in fresh and in slightly salty water. At the same time, tiddler chooses reservoirs with a slow current. These can be rivers and lakes of not large size with oozy bottom and thickets of aquatic vegetation. Keeps fish numerous flocks. Flocks move around the reservoir very actively and react to any object that has fallen into the water. In this regard, the stickleback often acts on the nerves of fishers, constantly roving at the point of fishing.

Despite the fact that the female can lay no more than 100 eggs, the stickleback breeds very actively. During the spawning period, this fish forms a kind of nest where the female lays its eggs. After that, males begin to take care of the offspring.

During the spawning period, the female sticklebacks have a brighter coloration.

Before spawning, their responsibilities between females and males are clearly distributed. Males are responsible for nesting and finding places for this. As a rule, they build nests in a muddy bottom or in the grass next to water lilies. They use silt and pieces of grass to build nests like a ball.

After the nest is built, the male searches for a female, which lays eggs in his nest, after which he fertilizes her. At the same time, the male can find more than one female. In such a case, caviar from several females can be found in its nest.

The spawning period can take up to one month. As soon as the fry are born, the male takes care of them, driving away predators. At the same time, it does not allow the young to swim away too far. And yet, in spite of such care, only a third of the young can survive.

Where is the stickleback

This fish inhabits virtually all of Europe’s water bodies, such as lakes and rivers. In addition, it is commonly found in the waters of North America.

On the territory of Russia, a three-needle stickleback is found in rivers and lakes of the Far East, and more specifically in Kamchatka. Prickle, although rare, is also found on the territory of European regions of Russia, including Lake Onega and in the Volga River delta.

The economic value of stickleback

For fishermen, this fish is a real disaster, as it rushes in flocks on the pond and rushes at any object that has fallen into the water. Moving in flocks, it creates at the point of fishing additional noise in the water column, which scares off other fish. In addition, this fish is not of acceptable size, and the presence of thorns frightens most fishermen. In Kamchatka, where the stickleback is ubiquitous, the locals call it “hakalch”, “hakal” or “hakhalcha”.

In fact, it is considered trash fish and is not caught on an industrial scale. Despite this, the stickleback is used in medicine, extracting the highest quality fat from it, which promotes healing of wounds, especially after burns. In addition, it is permissible to obtain from it technical fat for industrial use. If it is processed properly, you can get fertilizer for the fields, as well as produce feed meal. Poultry will also not refuse such a nutritious food.

More recently, and in our time, the locals of the Far East caught stickley and used its fat for cooking other homemade dishes. Oddly enough, but the stickleback fat is odorless compared to the fat of other fish. In addition, its fat is given to children in order to prevent various ailments.

If you wish, you can cook the ear from the stickleback, only it will turn out too bony and not very rich, except to use the largest individuals, if you can catch them.

Some fans put a stickie in an aquarium, although for its maintenance it is necessary to have a sufficiently large capacity. In addition, for its successful content necessary conditions are needed. The fact is that during periods of spawning, the males show maximum aggression towards other males, and for this you need to have a lot of living space. The bottom of the aquarium should consist of a sand base, and the lighting should be more close to the natural. As a rule, the three-needle stickleback does not tolerate bright light.


Despite the fact that this fish is not large, and vice versa, and therefore is not of particular interest to both anglers and for commercial needs, it may be useful in the future. This is due to the fact that fish species that are of interest to anglers and industry over time, may simply disappear due to mass fishing.

Of interest is its fat, which has no smell, although many people know the smell of fish oil, from which it immediately becomes uneasy. Therefore, it is preferable to use it in medicine, especially since for today there is no information about seafood that would be useless for humans. As a rule, fish oil is a healthy fat that can clean vessels.

No less attractive can be considered the option of using technical fats, produced on the basis of fish oil. And here, this seemingly weedy fish can play a significant role in the rise of industry. After all, it is no secret to anyone that, due to the price of oil, the prices of its derivatives are also rising.

Fish stick classification and description

According to the type of water are divided into freshwater, marine and aisle.

Freshwater is found and breeds only in freshwaters and never enters the sea.

Sea lives in the sea, spawning goes into the coastal waters.

Passage lives in sea water, breeding goes to fresh water. If after spawning does not have time to leave the river, it dies. Newborn individuals are gradually moving into the sea.

There are several types of smelt that differ in the number of needles on the back: three-needle, four-needle, nine-needle. In addition, they also distinguish the sea-stick, the southern small and stream.

This fish reaches a length of only 5-6 cm. The back has a greenish color with a brown tint, barrels and belly are silvery.

A three-pointed stickleed fish has three needles on its back. On the sides, instead of scales, there are transverse plates that taper towards the tail. There are about 30 of them. Bone plates are also located along the entire back.

Three-needle sticklebacks are freshwater and continuous. The latter, as a rule, die after spawning.


Representatives of this species are smaller than the three-needle ones. They have a completely naked elongated body with 9-10 prickles. On the back of the green-brown color there are two black stripes, the belly is silvery. During the spawning period, the males acquire a black color, the needles on the abdomen become white.

South small

This fish is distinguished by a large number of dorsal spines. The size of the southern small stickleback is about 5.5 cm, although there are individuals that reach 7 cm in length. The fish has a big head and a rather thick body. On the sides are bone plates, there is an abdominal shield, but there is no keel on the tail.

This species is very common, it behaves actively in reservoirs. Reaches in length no more than 6 cm. On a back from 4 to 6 prickles. With the onset of the mating season, the males become bright red.

Where dwells

Особенно много колюшки можно встретить в Балтийском и Белом морях. Есть она в реках Западной Сибири, в низовьях Днепра, в Северном Донце, водоемах Черного, Азовского и Каспийского морей, ильменях в районе Астрахани. Можно встретить в Волге и реках волжского бассейна.

Рыба колюшка любит тихие места со спокойным течением. It may be small grooves, rivers, lakes with sandy or muddy bottom and shores overgrown with grass.

Three-needle and nine-needle live in all European countries. In Russia, stickleback habitats are rivers flowing into the White and Baltic Seas, rivers of the Far East, water bodies of the Leningrad Region, Lake Onega.

Piketail lives along the entire coast of Europe, from Norway to the Bay of Biscay. Its habitats are sea zones near rocky shores.

The southern small is found in the desalinated areas of the Azov, Black and Caspian seas, as well as in the rivers that flow into them. Also lives in the lower reaches of the Dnieper and Northern Donets.

Description of breeding stickleback

Fish spawning time is most often April-May. A few days before they change color - become more vivid. Their fecundity is low - only 100 deferred eggs.

The peculiarity of this species is that for laying off the caviar a stickleed fish equips a nest. And it is not the female that is doing this, but the male. He pulls his mouth a hole in the sand, then transfer there pieces of silt, algae, grass and lays the bottom. For the fortress, all this is held together by slime secreted from the fish. The ball-shaped nest has two holes opposite each other. Sometimes it is half hidden in silt and difficult to detect.

After the place is equipped, the male returns to the flock, chooses a female, ready for laying, and drives her into the nest through one of the holes. The female lays caviar and goes to another hole, after which the male enters the nest and fertilizes the deferred eggs with milt.

After this, the male remains at the nest and protects it, not allowing enemies. This lasts about two weeks, until all the young fish hatched from the eggs will not leave the nest. And before that, he closely follows the offspring, not allowing him to go far from the nesting site.

Tickle fish eats the most varied food. These are mainly small inhabitants of water bodies, namely, crustaceans, worms, insect larvae, plankton, benthos (organisms living on the bottom of the water body). In addition, they are able to eat caviar and juveniles of other fish and even their own species.

They hunt moving prey at night. Especially hunting succeeds in the full moon, since they require at least a small amount of light. Sea stickleback is very active and pursues small fish. She, finding a prey, rushes to her, quickly seizes her jaws, stretching them forward, and closes her sharp teeth, leaving the victim no chance for salvation. Other sticklebacks, seeing such a picture, rush to it with all the jamb in the hope that they will also get food.

Prickle fish is prone to parasitic diseases, such as ergazilez, argued, because in its diet there are intermediate carriers - crustaceans.

How to catch

Catch stickback from the bottom. It is not of particular interest to anglers, since it does not have nutritional value. Rather, it is an amateur activity, for example, for children and teenagers. Since it is very gluttonous, fishing will be easy.

What is fishing stick stick for? She pecks on moldy worm, a worm, fish spawn, and even a bare hook. In winter, colored baits of various shapes and sizes are used with baits, bloodworms, worm, and maggots as bait. Online, this trifle due to its size almost does not come across.

Fishermen consider it a weed fish, but still there is some benefit from it. From it receive technical fat, do fodder flour and fertilizer for the fields.

There are lovers who keep her in the house in the aquarium.


It turns out that a monument has been erected in honor of the stickleback. This sculptural composition is located in Kronstadt on the island of Kotlin and is called the “Blockade Kolushka Monument”. In the besieged Leningrad, all commercial fish were caught in the Gulf of Finland, and one small fish remained, which in peacetime was not eaten and was considered garbage by fishermen. It so happened that in the years of the blockade, the stickle fish saved thousands of people from starvation. Small prickly fish did not fall into the net, so they caught it with shirts, nets, bags. From it fried patties on her own fat and cooked her ear.

In the second medical hospital in Leningrad, stickleback fat was used to treat wounds and burns among the soldiers.

The idea of ​​the monument originated in 1957, but the project was submitted for consideration only in 2004. At the initiative of veterans of Kronstadt, it was created and installed near the Blue Bridge on the wall of the Obvodny Canal - three bronze sticky sticks on metal waves and a plaque with lines from the poem “Blockade stickman ”by the poet Aminova M. The author of the monument is the sculptor N. Chepurnoy. The opening took place in 2005 on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Victory.

Distribution and habitat

Fish loves to inhabit the northern seas, as well as lakes, gulfs and the mouths of rivers of Russia, the Baltic States and Scandinavia. Smelt lives in large shoals in sandy places of seas or lakes, and for throwing caviar chooses a mouth of a river where there is no fast current.

Smelt is Asian European and small. The European species lives not only in the northern regions of Russia and western Europe, due to acclimatization the fish descended to the Volga basins. The Asian species is found in the coastal zones of the seas of the Pacific Ocean, in the North of the Atlantic and in the Arctic Ocean. Malorotnaya lives near the Pacific Ocean, on Kamchatka, not far from the Kuril Islands and the Sea of ​​Okhotsk.

Small fish has a good appetiteShe voracious, especially in summer and autumn. Often smaller smelts are found in her stomach, this is explained by the fact that the predatory species eats it in those reservoirs where there is no other food. In general, the food of young smelt consists of small animals, such as crustaceans - daphnia, cycris, cyclops, planktonic algae; mature specimens often eat small fish and spawn. The photo clearly shows that the fish has sharp and rather large teeth for its small size.

The fish is very tenacious, a distinctive feature of smelt is that after it was taken out of the water, it can remain alive for several hours in a row. This is due to the structure of its gills, they have two cavities in which water is stored.

Spawning of mature smelt

  1. Since the life expectancy of this type of fish is different, then maturity does not occur at the same age. If the smelt lives up to 3 years, then it reaches maturity in 1-2 years, if it lives 2-4 years, it is ready to spawn in 3-4 years. Siberian individuals that can live up to 10 years and even 12 become mature after 5-7 years.
  2. Immediately after the ice drift, the fish begins to spawn, as soon as the water temperature becomes +4 o C, the spawning peak occurs when the water reaches +6 o C and +9 o C. The fish goes to the streams, small and large rivers, often traveling long distances to put off caviar The whole process of spawning takes several days.
  3. The females throw their eggs at the very bottom, thanks to the adhesive surface of the shell, the eggs are easily fixed in one place. A lot of eggs do not survive, they are eaten by predators who survived, after a fortnight they turn into larvae, then they flow into the sea along the stream. At first they eat only algae, but very soon they switch to more substantial food.

Fishing for smelt, photo and video

A fish is a fishing speciesEvery year it is caught hundreds of thousands of tons worldwide. Fishermen also willingly catch smelt, as the bite of the fish is almost always active and such fishing is exciting for many fishing enthusiasts. The fish most actively pecks in December and for one fishing you can catch several kilograms of fish.

What can be cooked from koryuha?

  1. Considering the fat content of fish, it is always good to dry, smoke, and fry. It always produces tasty dishes, and considering the fact that it is easy to clean, many people like to cook dishes from it.
  2. Very tasty smelt marinated, the dish is perfect for snacks and buffets, and fish is marinated all day.
  3. A simple recipe is salted smelt, it can be quickly and easily salted, because all you need for cooking is fish and salt. It will be ready for use in 2-3 days after salting.
  4. It also produces a delicious ear, which not only has good taste, it is very useful for the health of children and the elderly because of the high content of vitamins.
  5. In just 20 minutes, the smelt can be cooked in a slow cooker, and considering that a small fish can not be cleaned, cooking will take a minimum of time and effort.

Useful and harmful properties of smelt

This type of fish contains a lot of nutrients for the body, it rich in healthy protein, fatsEspecially a lot of sodium in it. This element is necessary for the cardiovascular system and the provision of cells with glucose. The entire supply of nutrients is easily and quickly absorbed by the body.

Almost always koryuhu is eaten together with bones, which is also useful for joints and bones, preventing osteoporosis. The high content of vitamin A helps to improve eyesight, as well as get the necessary and important collagen.

Fish is very useful eat in order to prevent many diseases, it improves metabolic processes, so it can be an ideal meal for those who want to lose weight. Fish is always popular and affordable for many people.

It must be said that the fish can also harm the body if there is one that lives in polluted water bodies. In such a habitat, smelt accumulates heavy metals and harmful substances, so it is better not to use fish caught in polluted water.