The pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) is a freshwater fish of the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes. It is also referred to as pond perch, common sunfish, punkys, sunfish, and sunny. Pumpkinseed sunfish have been introduced throughout all of North America. They can now be found from Washington and Oregon on the Pacific Coast to Georgia on the Atlantic Coast, and are primarily found in the northeastern United States. The pumpkinseed’s natural range is from New Brunswick down the east coast to South Carolina. It then runs inland to the middle of North America, and extends through Iowa and back through Pennsylvania. The greatest populations of pumpkinseed sunfish are in the northeastern region of the United States as they are rarely found in the south-central or southwestern region of the continent. In Europe, the pumpkinseed is considered an invasive species. They were introduced to European waters, and could outcompete existing fish, therefore making them invasive or alien species. Pumpkinseeds typically are 6-8 inches in length, but can grow up to 10 inches. They typically weigh less than 1 pound, with the world record being 1 pound 6 ounces. They are orange, green, yellow or blue in color, with speckles over their sides and back and a yellow-orange breast and belly. The coloration of the ctenoid scales of the pumpkinseed is one of the most vibrant of any freshwater fish and can range from an olive-green or brown to bright orange and blue. The sides are covered with vertical bars that are a faint green or blue, which are typically more prevalent in female pumpkinseeds. Orange spots may cover the dorsal, anal, and caudal fins and the cheeks have blue lines across them. The pumpkinseed is noted for the orange-red spot on the margin of its black gill cover. Pumpkinseeds have a small body that is shaped much like that of a pumpkinseed, giving them their common name. They have a small mouth with an upper jaw stopping right under the eye. Pumpkinseeds typically live in warm, calm lakes, ponds, and pools of creeks and small rivers with plenty of vegetation. They prefer clear water where they can find shelter to hide. They tend to stay near the shore and can be found in numbers within shallow and protected areas. Pumpkinseed sunfish usually travel together in schools that can also include bluegills and other sunfish.

pumpkinseed.txt · Last modified: 2014/02/07 14:34 by grinder
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