BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild May -

As the wa­ters of ponds, dykes and streams warm up, male stick­le­backs come into full breed­ing mode. Their belly flushes crim­son, con­trast­ing nicely with pow­der-blue eyes, and they be­come highly ag­gres­sive. Pumped-up males chase away not just ri­vals but also other fish and aquatic crea­tures, es­pe­cially if they ap­pear red. Stick­le­backs sel­dom get much at­ten­tion – apart a brief spell in the lime­light dur­ing 2015’s Spring­watch, when ‘Spine­less Si’ be­came an un­likely TV star – yet th­ese tena­cious tid­dlers are some of our most charis­matic fish.

FIND OUT MORE Learn more about UK fresh wa­ters at www.fresh­wa­ter­habi­

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