Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 97, Issue 2, pp 209–214 | Cite as

Seasonal changes in carotenoid and lipid storage by threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus

  • C. A. Black
  • R. J. Scott
  • M. A. Bernards


Total body astaxanthin and lipid concentrations in threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) collected from fall through the start of the breeding season were correlated; concentrations of each increased between fall and spring and decrease during the pre-breeding season. Individual tissues (skin, muscle, viscera, carcass, and gonads) showed a decrease between the spring and pre-breeding seasons; beta-carotene also decreased in all tissues except the skin, where there was an increase. Unlike previous studies, beta-carotene, but not astaxanthin, was deposited in the skin prior to nesting, suggesting that that beta-carotene is the carotenoid responsible for creating the nuptial signal in this wild population.


Astaxanthin Beta-carotene Lipid Condition Breeding 



We thank E. MacDougal-Shackleton, C. Guglielmo, J. McNeil, B. Neff, and L. Milligan for logistic support and advice on experimental design. Two anonymous reviewers made valuable suggestions and contributed to an improved paper. We would also like to thank D. Gamu for technical assistance. This project was funded by an NSERC discover Grant to R.J.S. This study was approved by the University of Western Ontario’s University Council on Animal Care (Protocol # 2004-039-04).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  2. 2.Sustainable Resource Management, and Environmental ScienceMemorial University of Newfoundland – Grenfell CampusCorner BrookCanada

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