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Redbreast Sunfish fingerlings versus Bluegill fingerlings

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#1 Guest_jhubbell_*

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 03:06 PM

What are the best morphological characters for separating these two species out at <1 year? I have been tasked with collecting YOY redbreast and bluegill and besides the very obvious characters (ear flaps, vertical bars on bluegills, and lengths of pectoral fins), I've struggled with coming up with a character that can be used to differentiate between these two species when they are both so small.

Any help would be great!



#2 Guest_mikez_*

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 05:49 PM

Not exactly the answer you were looking for, I'd use habitat. In my area redbreast are very limited to flowing streams. Very rarely see the two species together. I'd be confident any young I found in the redbreast streams would be redbreast, 'specially if adults are near by. On the other hand, if I found adult bluegill, I'd be 99.99% sure there no redbreast near by.

#3 Guest_UncleWillie_*

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 07:28 AM

I'd go with the orange spots on the sides. Redbreasts (even at very small sizes) have little orange or brown spots on the sides. Also, if you see any blue patterns along the cheek, you've got a redbreast. Bluegill won't have those.

#4 Guest_gerald_*

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 09:28 AM

Not sure where jhubbell is located, but in the southeast states redbreast and bluegill DO often occur together, especially in low-gradient streams. Agree with Willie - orange spots on sides, blue lines on cheeks. Get familiar with greens, pumpkinseed, and longear too if they are a possibility in your area.

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