Redbreast Sunfish; Lepomis auritus 

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Distribution:


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Description:

12.7 to 17.8 cm in length.  Colour can range from a dark olive to a brown/bronze coloured  back, lightening down the sides to a yellow or red belly.  The sides commonly have reddish  spots and bluish steaks.  The redbreast sunfish has two dorsal fins that are connected, the first having spines and the second being soft rayed.  The pectoral fins are high on the sides, short and rounded.  The opercular flaps are long, narrow (no wider than its eye) and and    lacks a coloured boarder. Lateral line scales fewer than 50; greatest depth into length from tip of snout to end of scales 2.0-2.5 times (sunfishes, Lepomis); gill rakers short and stout;   base of anal into base of dorsals 2.3-2.6 times; preopercle not serrate; no black spot at   posterior base of second dorsal fin.

Biology:

Redbreast sunfish live in quiet areas of rivers and vegetated areas of lakes over a variety of substrates.  The diet of the redbreast sunfish consists mainly of aquatic insects.  Other food items include; aquatic vegetation and debris, fish, mollusks, terrestrial insects, and other invertebrates. Larger piscivorous fish are the main predators of smaller redbreast sunfish.  The eggs of the redbreast sunfish can fall prey to a variety of cyprinids and other unfishes.  Due to its small size the it is not often sought after as a recreational fish in New Brunswick waters. Spawning occurs from spring to summer when water temperatures are around 20 C.  Male redbreast sunfish move to the spawning grounds before the females where they will o ccupy and defend a territory.  They escavate nest in gravel or sand and is almost always in proximity to a rock, log or some other structure.  They are generally 24 to 40 inches in diameter and in 6 to16 inches of water. The female enters the nest without courtship from the male and then deposits her eggs. The male then chases the female out of the nest and begins to defend and aerate the eggs.


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Male guarding nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Similar Species:

Pumpkinseed sunfish,  Smallmouth Bass