Any of various small freshwater and marine fishes of the family Gasterosteidae, having erectile spines along the back.
Any of a family (Gasterosteidae, order Gasterosteiformes) of small, bony-plated, marine and freshwater bony fishes with two to eleven sharp spines in front of the dorsal fin: the male builds a nest for the female's eggs.
Middle English stikelbak Old English sticelpricksteig- in Indo-European roots Middle English bakbackback1
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
Old English and dialect stickle a prickle, spine, sting (Anglo-Saxon sticel) + back. See stick (transitive verb) and compare banstickle.
Stickleback Sentence Examples
Of the species known not one has so wide a geographical range, and has so well been studied, as the common British threespined stickleback (Gastrosteus aculeatus).
The ten-spined stickleback (Gastrosteus pungitius) is so called from the number of spines usually composing its first dorsal fin, which, however, may be sometimes reduced to eight or nine or increased to eleven.