The Protective Three-Spined Stickleback Dad

In spring, the local male stickleback can be seen building a nest made of twigs, plant debris and mucus.  Once complete, he flashes his bright red belly and vibrates his blue-green tail in hopes of attracting a female.  To complete the dance he presents to her his home-made nest.  If interested she may enter to lay her eggs.  This process may occur more then once with other females.  Her  role complete, she is chased out by the male who swims through the nest to fertilize the eggs.  He then stands guard, occasionally fanning the oxygen filled water with his fins.  When hatched, for the first few days of their lives, the father defends them.  He goes as far as gathering the little wanderers in his mouth and spits them back into their nursery until they are ready to be off on their own.

*sketch by Borren Hui

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