13 April, 2016
A species of stickleback which became an unlikely star after appearing on the BBC ‘Springwatch’ programme has gone on display at Deep Sea World, Scotland’s national aquarium.
The fifteen-spined, or sea stickleback, is the largest member of the stickleback family and can reach lengths of up to 20cms.
Native to UK waters they are most commonly found in the brackish waters of the Atlantic Ocean living among seaweed.
A shoal of 20 has been released in to the North Queensferry attraction’s newly-completed Scottish Sea display which highlights the variety of native marine species.
Deep Sea World’s Michael Morris said: “Ever since the BBC Springwatch programme last year featured ‘Spineless Si’ on their ‘Stickleback Cam’ the level of interest in the hitherto humble stickleback has increased significantly.
“Hopefully this new display will showcase them further and bring them to more people’s attention.
“They are actually fascinating little fish with a surprisingly sophisticated social structure; particularly when it comes to reproducing,” he added.
The male sticklebacks build a nest by digging a small pit and then using special thread-like mucus around plants causing them to come together to create a nest.
They then perform a zig-zag like mating dance around this nest to attract a female.
Once inside the nest the female lays up to 300 peppercorn-sized eggs which the male externally fertilises.
He then guards the eggs and fans them with his fins until they hatch. He continues to care for the fry until they have absorbed the contents of their egg yolks and can feed for themselves.
Issued by Deep Sea World. For more information and to arrange interviews and filming or picture opportunities please contact Nancy Sidhu or Michael Morris on 01383 411880 ext 101.