Interspawning Interval of Wild Female Three-Spined Stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus in Alaska

Document Type


Publication Date



Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


The interspawning interval, or spawning frequency, of wild three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, was estimated using histological examination of postovulatory follicles (POF). Females in Alaskan lakes appeared to have as much as a 48 h delay between ovulation and ovoposition, yet the POF method could still be used to estimate the interspawning interval. In two Alaskan lakes the interspawning interval was estimated to range from 2.2 to 7.8 days among individual female G. aculeatus. These estimates were consistent with the range (2.5 to 5 days) of previous estimates among individual females from laboratory observations of spawning G. aculeatus, as well as anecdotal accounts of spawning intervals reported from wild populations in Canada (5-10 days). The interspawning interval of females increased during the course of the spawning season in Alaska, showing that the majority of female spawning activity occurred during the earliest portion of the approximate 6-week reproductive season. The increased interspawning interval appears to be related to a previously reported decrease in body condition in reproductive females during the breeding season. Thus, female G. aculeatus may be unable to sustain the initial rate of reproduction as energy stores that support the rapid growth of vitellogenic oocytes are depleted. (C) 2009 The Authors Journal compilation (C) 2009 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles

Publication Title

Journal of Fish Biology





First Page


Last Page