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Montana Animal Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Brook Stickleback - Culaea inconstans

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Potential Species of Concern

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
FWP Conservation Tier: 3


 

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General Description
The brook stickleback is unique among Montana's fishes in its appearance. This species is native east of the Continental Divide in northeastern Montana. Sticklebacks live in slow streams and lakes with submerged plants. They are spring spawners that build a nest from pieces of vegetation they glue together with a special kidney secretion. Sticklebacks feed on small crustaceans and insects and can reach a length of about 3 inches. They provide some food for other predatory fishes.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Brook sticklebacks are olive-green with mottling or light spots on the sides; the undersides are light yellow to silver. During breeding season the males are black with tinges of red; females may be dusky. The body is smooth, without scales, but with minute bony plates about the pores on the lateral line.

General Distribution
Montana Range



Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 741

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Relative Density

Recency

 

(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
Brook sticklebacks are associated with dense vegetation in slow, clear streams and shallow lakes.

Food Habits
This species feeds on almost any aquatic invertebrate that is available. Scuds, water fleas, midges, and very small fishes have been found in their stomachs.

Reproductive Characteristics
Brook sticklebacks spawn May through June. The male builds a nest from vegetation and lures one or more females in to deposit eggs. Incubation is for 8 days at 60 drgrees F.

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Brook Stickleback — Culaea inconstans.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on July 23, 2014, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/detail_AFCPA02010.aspx
 
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