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Reproductive Behaviour of the Landlocked Three-Spined Stickleback, Gasterosteus Aculeatus Microcephalus, in Japan

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Seasonal changes in breeding activity of the landlocked three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus microcephalus, f. leiurus were studied in the field. The study area comprised several stations on the Yamayoke and Tsuya rivers (Gifu Prefecture, Japan), both on the main stream and in spring-fed areas along their banks. In these latter areas the temperature of the water remains constant (15°C) throughout the year, and breeding activity, exemplified mainly by the presence of nests continues all over the year, with a peak in the activity between March and May. In the main-stream areas the temperature of the water varies considerably and the three-spined sticklebacks show a seasonal breeding activity, similar to the situation reported for other countries. Prolongation of the breeding period is quite unusual for sticklebacks outside Japan. In this first publication on the yearlong prolongation of the breeding activity it is claimed that it must be due to the favourable and constant temperature of the water in the spring-fed areas. Day-length seems to be unimportant in the control of the breeding activity of these sticklebacks. The role of the prolonged breeding period as a factor which promotes isolation between stickleback populations is discussed.

Affiliations: 1: (Sakamoto Fish-farm, Mie Prefecture, Japan


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