The Gasterosteidae are a family of fish including the sticklebacks. They are related to the pipefish and seahorses. Sticklebacks are endemic to the temperate zone and are most commonly found in the ocean, but some can be found in fresh water. The freshwater taxa were trapped in Europe, Asia, and North America after the Ice Age 10,000-20,000 years ago, and have evolved features different from those of the marine species. Sticklebacks are carnivorous, feeding on small animals such as insects, crustaceans and fish larvae. Sticklebacks are characterised by the presence of strong and clearly isolated spines in their dorsal fins. An unusual feature of sticklebacks is that they have no scales, although some species have bony armour plates.