The Fourspine Stickleback (Apeltes quadracus) is a diminutive member of the Gasterosteidae inhabiting a rather narrow zone comprising coastal and near-coastal brackish and freshwater habitats from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to North Carolina. Behavior, morphology, and several other aspects of the biology of A. quadracus have been well studied, yet there are surprisingly few investigations of its life history. Here, we provide data on four reproductive traits for female A. quadracus from seven sites in Nova Scotia, Canada. The sites occur within three distinct regions of Nova Scotia, and encompass a variety of brackish-water and freshwater habitats. Female size, clutch mass adjusted to a common body size, and clutch size adjusted to a common body size differed significantly among the three regions. These traits also showed significant variation across sites within regions. Egg dry mass did not differ across regions, but there was significant variation across sites within regions. Our study, and earlier ones from more southern populations, indicate that there may be variation of evolutionary interest in several traits on multiple spatial scales in this species.
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Vol. 2010 • No. 3