Redbreast Sunfish

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FISH PROFILE

COMMON NAME

Redbreast Sunfish

Scientific name

Lepomis auritus

FAMILY

Centrarchidae family

LENGTH

Up to 9.5 inches

DIET

Insects and crustaceans

Play Video

FISH PROFILE

COMMON NAME

Redbreast Sunfish

Scientific name

Lepomis auritus

FAMILY

Centrarchidae family

LENGTH

Up to 9.5 inches

DIET

Insects and crustaceans

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

The primary distinguishing feature of a redbreast sunfish is a long and narrow black ear flap. You may also see wavy blue lines on the cheek and gill cover. Breeding males have reddish-orange breasts, so not all individuals will display the characteristic that gives this species its common name. This slow growing sunfish species takes 2-3 years to reach six inches, the average length for redbreasts!

RANGE, HABITAT, BEHAVIOR, AND DIET

The native range for redbreast sunfish is the eastern US from Maine to Central Florida. Redbreast sunfish are not found in South Florida, and have been introduced to parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and South Dakota. They prefer areas of slower flow, preferably sandy bottoms. Redbreasts prefer bottom dwelling prey such as snails, crayfish, and insect larvae.

IDENTIFYING VARIOUS SPECIES in THE sunfish FAMILY

While there are other sunfish species that can be found in Florida’s springs, the four that are the most common and the best for a beginning fish-watcher to start with are Bluegill, Spotted Sunfish, Redear Sunfish, and Redbreast Sunfish.

Bluegill sunfish: look for that spot at the rear base of the dorsal fin.
Spotted sunfish: look for the iridescent blue under the eyes.
Redbreast sunfish: look for the long ear flap.
Redear sunfish: look for the red spot on the ear. That spot is not always visible so if your sunfish lacks any of the characteristics of the other three species, it might be a redear!

FUN FACTS

Redbreasts are common in rivers and springs of south-central to north Florida, but absent from south Florida. Common names for this species are river bream and redbellies!

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