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Geographic Variation in Sunfish


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#1 Guest_Heather_*

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 08:29 PM

Like so many of us, I have been inspired by Casper and Isaac's excellent posts and pictures recently.
Curious to know if anyone here is keeping these Florida sunfishes? Any sources commercially?
How have their populations been impacted by the insurgence of invasive exotics?

Do we already have a map/graphic of the geographic variations of sunfish? IMO it would be neat to see the colors morph by location at a glance. Do bluegill look similar in northern and southern Florida? What about Georgia? What do they look like in South Carolina? I've seen the variation in longears but there again only from a few locations. I've never seen auritus like the one below!


Snorkeling Fanning and Manatee springs with Casper

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Bluegill

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Spotted Sunfish

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Redbreast Sunfish



Another of his FL bluegill shots

Florida has some nice-looking bluegill. Here's one from the Suwannee drainage:

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#2 Guest_kirbylfth_*

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 08:55 PM

wow had no idea that blue gill could have so many different color variations, those definitely don't look like ky bluegill I'll try to find a pic of one I caught over the summer for reference.

#3 Guest_BenCantrell_*

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 08:59 PM

Here's an out of the water photo of a bluegill from the Everglades. The pink on the tips of the dorsal spines really stood out to me.

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This one is from Lake Waccamaw in southern North Carolina. I wish I had a photo of an adult.

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Here's your good old midwestern bluegill from Wisconsin.

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Here's another Wisconsin bluegill. They get pretty funny shaped once they hit about 9 inches.

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#4 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 12:07 PM

The commercial strain of bluegill known as coppernose is largely derived from Florida bluegills, although I don't know exactly how the strain has been developed. I defer to Centrarchid for details about them.

#5 Guest_Mike_*

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 05:34 PM

Here is a good photo of the handpaint Bluegill: http://bigbluegill.c...source=activity

Also this site has a good discription of the Bluegill Subspecies: http://forums.pondbo...t&Number=279770

I know there are other sunfish subspecies too:

At least two Redear Sunfish, two Dollar Sunfish, & 5 or 6 Longear Sunfish subspecies.

I too would like to see photos & range maps of all these.

Also the Florida Brown Bullhead is so different, I wonder if someone studied its DNA if it would become its own species. To me it looks more distinct then all the Speckled Darters recently split.
Sorry this was slightly off topic.

#6 Isaac Szabo

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 06:54 PM

All of my photos you posted were taken in N FL where there are few exotics. I have no idea how the exotics have impacted native fish populations in S FL, but it seems like someone would have looked into it by now.

Like Mike said, a lot is already known about geographic variation in sunfishes. However, I'm sure there's a lot more to come as well. It would be nice to have it cleared up a little more. There are obvious geographic differences within some of these wide-ranging species. For example, this longear in N AR looks quite different from this longear in FL:

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N AR Longear

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FL Longear

Also, longears in Arkansas River drainages of W AR and E OK have a conspicuous red/orange stripe on their foreheads:

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AR River Longear

We don't have redbreasts in AR, so I don't have a good idea of how they normally look. However, the ones I saw in FL seem to look a little different than the photos I've seen, and a sunfish with black edges on the dorsal and caudal fins was new to me.

#7 Guest_Heather_*

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 10:27 PM

Thanks everyone for the pics, info and links Posted Image
Isaac, I've never seen a longear look like that either! And those redbreasts look a LOT different than the ones we have up here in NH!!

Not my pic but taken at the same lake as mine were collected; Kanasatka, Moultonborough, NH

source: http://www.inaturali...ervations/73788
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I know there are other sunfish subspecies too:

At least two Redear Sunfish, two Dollar Sunfish, & 5 or 6 Longear Sunfish subspecies.

I too would like to see photos & range maps of all these.


Thanks Mike for those helpful links, it was an interesting read on bluegill... those "hand paints" were beautiful!
I agree certainly more than the bluegill show geographic diversity in populations.
If there is interest, I would love to put together an interactive map with pics for each Lepomis if we get enough pics of each. Would be great if everyone could post their sunfish pics and corresponding locations here. I'd like to make sure to credit the correct owners so please note if they're not yours. Of course I'd reference NANFA as well :)

Could be wrong, but I think I've even noticed differences in pumpkinseeds.

#8 Guest_FirstChAoS_*

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 12:22 AM

I have never seen a red breast with huge wing like opercular tabs locallty. Between that and color differences I wonder if redbreast have various subspecies.

PUMPKINSEEDS FROM NH

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PUMPKINSEED FROM NJ

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BLUEGILL FROM NH

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REDBREAST FROM NH

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#9 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 07:10 AM

Heather, you should search the Gallery Archive. I am sure there are aot of pictures there that could get you started. Sounds like a neat project.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#10 Guest_Houndog_*

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 10:01 PM

Heather,
I'm also fascinated by regional variation. Auritus is a great example...The first two photos were from the Chattooga River in northeastern GA. The colors on these fish are amazing and my poor photo skills don't do it justice. I've seen freshwater fish from all over the US, and nothing I've seen equals a north GA redbreasted sunfish. The color in the dorsal is greenish-gold, edged in black.

The next pic is from the GA/FL Withlacoochee River, which is feeder for the Suwannee River. They grow much larger in the Suwannee drainage, with longer pec, dorsal and anal fins.

The last shot is from the North Fork of the Shenandoah River in northwestern Virginia. These fish were short-finned, stocky and had even more muted colors than the FL fish. All were released unharmed, btw.

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#11 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:51 AM

Here's one from a Chattahoochee trib just north of Atlanta
Attached File  redbreast hooch.jpg   86.4KB   0 downloads
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#12 Guest_Usil_*

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:45 PM

Love this thread. Hope to see lots more pictures of variations across North America.

Usil

#13 Guest_butch_*

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 03:09 PM

Has anyone seen a Mexican subspecies of longear sunfish? They looks completely different from other longears.

Edited: I meant Rio Grande Longears.

Edited by butch, 28 January 2014 - 03:19 PM.


#14 Guest_BenCantrell_*

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 03:48 PM

Most online photo albums let you add a location for each photo. Someone interested in this subject could manage a photo album (with Google+ or Flickr, for example), and then invite people to email them pictures with latitude and longitude.

#15 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 04:27 PM

A NANFA member could do the same thing here on the Gallery Archive!
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#16 Guest_BenCantrell_*

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 04:56 PM

A NANFA member could do the same thing here on the Gallery Archive!


With an interactive map? Here's an example of what can be done on Flickr.

https://www.flickr.c...2530671982/map/

#17 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:12 PM

Oh, I misunderstood... I see now... you can do this on google maps too, I think... add pictures to locations identified on a map... sorry Ben
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#18 Guest_Heather_*

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 10:17 PM

Thanks so much for sharing those pics... please keep them coming.
Butch I have never seen those before, but would love to!

Here is an example of what we used to do.... if it defaults to city map view, click on the satellite option on the top right.
Clicking on the pins shows the fish at that location.
https://maps.google....dae5e03db&msa=0

#19 Guest_BenCantrell_*

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:10 AM

Heather, would you like to start building sunfish map(s) like that? I have pictures of all the lepomis except bantam and redspotted that I'd be happy to send you.

#20 Guest_Heather_*

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 01:31 PM

Absolutely... just be sure to include their locations :)




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