Pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus

Type of Animal:

Clear fresh water w/ sandy/muddy/gravel bottoms & lots of vegetation- lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, creek pools, reservoirs, creeks, marshes, will utilize brackish water as well

Native to E US from E Dakotas/NE Nebraska through Midwest & as far N as Maine & far S as N/E Georgia as well as SE Manitoba, SW Ontario, far SE Ontario, S Quebec, & New Brunswick. Introduced/invasive in parts of West Virginia, S Ohio, S Indiana, S Illinois, parts of Missouri, part of S Iowa, N/E Nebraska, Dakotas, NW US, California, Arizona, throughout S Canada, much of Europe, Turkey, Georgia (the country), Chile, Venezuela, Brazil, W Russia, & parts of Africa.

Orange/green/yellow/blue fish w/ speckling over sides/back, yellow-orange breast/belly, faint green/blue vertical bars on sides (more prevalent in females), orange spots often cover dorsal/anal/tail fins, blue-lined cheeks, orange-red spot on margins of black gill cover, blackish dorsal spines, amber/clear pectoral fins, small pumpkinseed shaped body, males brighter than females in breeding season often w/ more reddish-yellowish-orangish, deep laterally compressed fish

Snails, worms, insects, small fish (including small members of own species), crustaceans, insect larvae, detritus, aquatic vegetation, tadpoles, small frogs, leeches, zooplankton, eggs, leaves, algae, shrimp larvae

Status in Wild:

Not applicable

Schools of 2-150 fish w/ juveniles/subadults in larger schools than adults. Colonial nesters w/ colonies comprising 3-15 nests-each guarded by territorial male. Multiple females use same nest & females often spawn in multiple nests. Fry live w/ dad for 1st 2 weeks of life.

Additional Info:

Young: Fry/Fingerling
Group: School
Male: 0.78-2.4 oz
Female: 0.53-2.32 oz
Young: 0.055 oz

3-5 days 

Life Span:
6-8 years

Body Length:
Male: 3.97-5.9 in
Female: 3.54-5.78 in
Young: 1.5 in

Tail Length:
0.8 in, same for both sexes

Main predators are larger fish (including larger members of own species), ospreys, eagles, hawks, herons, cormorants, waterfowl, raccoons, otters, muskrats, & shorebirds.
Also called punkie, pond perch, common sunfish, sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, pumpkinseed fish, sunny, sun perch, & kivver.
Where invasive, they outcompete native fish.
Males flare gills in spawning season & both sexes flare them when threatened by predators.
Sharp spines aid in defense.

Fun Fact(s):
These fish are very popular among anglers.
Single female can lay more than 1,700 eggs in a season.
Often mistaken for closely related Bluegills & sometimes hybridize w/ Bluegill. They often nest near Bluegill as well.
Males highly protective of eggs/nest/young fry, often charging at people who get too close.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *