Definition of stickleback in English:



  • A small fish with sharp spines along its back, able to live in both salt and fresh water and found in both Eurasia and North America.

    Family Gasterosteidae: several genera and species, including the common and widespread three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)

    • ‘Such video techniques have been particularly effective in female mate choice studies in fishes, including guppies, sticklebacks, and swordtails.’
    • ‘Although Daphnia are not used by humans as a food source directly, they are involved in many of the foodchains necessary to sustain fish that we consume or use commercially such as sticklebacks, minnows and young Sockeye salmon.’
    • ‘There are also rudd, bream, eels, gudgeon, crucian carp, tench, minnows, perch, sticklebacks, the odd trout, pike and barbel present.’
    • ‘In the open water, long spines help protect the stickleback from being swallowed by large predators.’
    • ‘Cyprinids and sticklebacks are similar in body size but differ in their degree of body armor.’
    • ‘Although most species of stickleback can adapt to salt, brackish, or fresh water, unarmored threespine sticklebacks appear to be limited to fresh water.’
    • ‘More than 250 people around the world are observing and documenting evolution, not only in finches and guppies, but also in aphids, flies, grayling, monkeyflowers, salmon, and sticklebacks.’
    • ‘Boxfishes and three-spine sticklebacks hover very well by oscillating their pectoral fins with large attack angles on both recovery and power strokes.’
    • ‘Familiarity develops over a period of time; in both the guppy and the stickleback, it develops gradually over approximately 2 weeks.’
    • ‘Further evidence that the several instances of beach spawning in fishes arose by different mechanisms comes from puffers and sticklebacks.’
    • ‘Examples include the red markings of salmon, stickleback, and guppies, in addition to many birds.’
    • ‘For example, in sticklebacks, a large fish distracts predator attention from the smaller ones, and an individual may decrease its risk of predation by locating close to a more preferred prey.’
    • ‘The oil slick contaminated about three kilometres of waterway killing about 150 sticklebacks - small fish renowned for being tolerant to pollution - a seagull and a duck.’
    • ‘In the spring the water was filled with sticklebacks and frogspawn - enough to delight any youngster and he would catch them in a small net and take a few home in a glass jar.’
    • ‘The three-spine stickleback is a fish known for its tremendous variability in size, physiology, and behavior.’
    • ‘For example, in a study of more than 25 populations of sticklebacks, all adaptive behavioral differentiation appears to have occurred by loss of ancestral behavior patterns or by shifts in the frequency of their expression.’
    • ‘For example, individual male sticklebacks that are bolder toward predators are also better at obtaining breeding sites through territorial aggression.’
    • ‘Some researchers believe that the two lineages of marine and freshwater sticklebacks are an example of evolution in action, since records indicate that some of their adaptations have occurred in only the past 10 years.’
    • ‘In a certain new pond in Bergen, Norway, during the past century, sticklebacks evolved toward the lighter armor in just thirty-one years.’
    • ‘The diverse genes hypothesis is supported by a study of sticklebacks.’


Late Middle English from Old English sticel ‘thorn, sting’ + bæc ‘back’.