Bird's Eye View of Bute

The Sticklebacks

(1) Spines Up

(1) Spines Up

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 A Little White Lie ?
The Sticklebacks
A while age I wrote about what would happen if, when you were young and walking over the Moors on Bute , or elsewhere with your parents and came across ,say a butterfly on the path and you asked your Dad what it was. Dad looked at it and either said that it was a so-and -so , as he may have seen them before, or said that he was not sure but would check it out when they got home, or, he did not know what it was , but did not want to admit it, so he may have given it a fictitious name to save face.


Well that fictitious name would stick in your mind for evermore,and would carry on till such time that you ,were yourself married with children and may come across another of the same species and checking your memory-banks you were able to identify it correctly so you thought , but you would be wrong. This has happened to me recently. When I was very young we collected Frogs Spawn and, and as we did so we came across other things in the ponds that we did not know what they were, so I asked others what they were. I can't remember who I asked , but was given a name for one of these things, a” Stickleback”. I had noticed that some had three spines on their backs , and others had lots more, to be told that as they got older they get more spines.
Well to me that was correct as I looked up to my elders and did not question their answer.
So I had fallen into the same trap.
Take a jump to present time.
I was looking after two fish tanks in the Museum, one fresh and one salt water. In the fresh tank were sticklebacks, and in the salt one, shrimps, hermit crabs and anemones. Well I was looking after these for a few years then stopped , but continued to collect all species if and when required for the tanks. It was not until I read in the Museum website that there was only Three-spined ones recorded on Bute but I had been getting some with more spines? So! I phoned Ron Forester the Immediate Past President of the Buteshire Natural History Society about them. Welly boots on and head to the Greenan Burn, and within five minutes had one Three-spined and one with eight spines , so I was delighted.
All these years being given wrong information which I may have given to my children or others.
Sent images of both to Ron and he was, like me, delighted, and they are now on the Museum website. The one with eight spines comes under the name of “Ten-Spined” as they may have seven to twelve spines. I was delighted to be told from Ron that this was a first for Bute, so this year I will be checking all the burns and lochs that had records of the Three-spined ones, and maybe get plenty of the Ten-spined ones to update their records.

So all these years with the wrong information , we are never to late to learn.

Norrie Mulholland.

 First printed in the Buteman 14-02-2014



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