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Sunfish potpourri


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#1 JasonL

JasonL
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  • Kentucky

Posted 23 April 2018 - 07:32 PM

Was exploring the Mississippi and Ohio River floodplain last weekend here in far western KY and found a slough amenable to sampling despite the high water. Found 6 different Lepomis in one spot along with a few other stragglers.
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Here were a few non Lepomis extras I came across

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Respectable Pirate Perch

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Aside: This was the only Elassoma I found and this beast measured 1.75 inches. Biggest in awhile!

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Most likely a tiny grass pickerel. Locals were catching larger specimens on spinners.

Also found Gambusia, Blackstriped and Blackspotted topminnows, and silversides which may have flooded in from the main river - they seemed out of place with these other species. Saw some gar lurking but couldn't find any fry. Lots of diversity overall though. Good times.

#2 itsme

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 08:47 AM

Beautiful!  Love me a sloppy slough!



#3 Redfin

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  • Border of Chicago & Des Plaines Watershed and Cuyahoga Basin

Posted 24 April 2018 - 05:37 PM

Sounds like a great day.  Awesome fish, I love that tiny grass pickerel.  Really interesting looking and seems like a baby grass pickerel to me.



#4 Dustin

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 09:36 AM

What is the next to last sunfish?  Looks like a baby longear.  What was the sixth species?  


Dustin Smith
At the convergence of the Broad, Saluda and Congaree
Lexington, SC


#5 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 11:01 AM

I got warmouth, BG, green,longear, OSS, bantam. I don't know how right or wrong I am though.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#6 Dustin

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 12:15 PM

You guys know o-spots way better than I do but do they get those vertical iridescent blueish green bars?  And aren't they more elongate?  And those markings on the nose are also absent on o-spots.  Longears are more rounded and do get those bars, right?


Dustin Smith
At the convergence of the Broad, Saluda and Congaree
Lexington, SC


#7 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 12:37 PM

Very well may be a longear. I was kind of doing the six species six pictures thing, and thought it looked OSS enough. Not common in my area.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#8 JasonL

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 01:09 PM

Matt is correct. We have lots of orangespots in my area of KY and this is a pretty typical male specimen for these parts.

#9 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 04:36 PM

Whoohoo! The only near to me population looks similar, not near as fancy as some I have seen. At first I thought it was the muddy water, but heck, they are all in muddy water.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#10 smbass

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 10:11 PM

I'm with Dustin on this second to last Lepomis is not an orangespotted, just a smaller longear than the one above it. A couple things stand out to me...

 

The body shape is not correct for an orangespotted sunfish, they have a indent above the eye and then the forehead goes up quickly behind the eye. This gives them a more pointed look to the snout than a longear sunfish. Longear (like this fish) have a more consistently rounded head.

 

Additionally male orangespotted sunfish have a solid blue/green sheen to the cheek and opercle with orange/red spots on it. The blue does not form streaks or lines like it does on this fish.

 

Also the anal and dorsal fins on this fish have red/orange in the webbing only with the rays not as brightly colored, this gives the fins a streaked pattern which is more typical of a longear sunfish. Orangespotted sunfish have a solid wide margin of orange on the dorsal and often a completely orange anal fin with a black outer edge.

 

Lastly the baring pattern of a longear is different than an orangespotted sunfish. Longear have wider darker bars with the in between spaces rather thin, the bars also extend all the way forward along the sides of the body making them more numerous than an those of a orangespotted. Orangespotted have only a few thin bars closer to the tail with wide in between spaces. These thin bars are usually very metalic looking and can be white or even purple on fired up breeding males.

 

All of what I described applies to male orangespotted sunfish, females are rather drab fish with little to no baring pattern and just brown spots on the sides with little to no color in the fins. The head shape is consistent with the males but otherwise they are very different in appearance from males.

 

Male Orangespotted...

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And a female...

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Brian J. Zimmerman

Gambier, Ohio - Kokosing River Drainage


#11 Dustin

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Posted 26 April 2018 - 07:38 AM

Thanks Brian.  I knew that it looked more like a longear or dollar but haven't held an o-spot so didn't want to be definitive about it.


Dustin Smith
At the convergence of the Broad, Saluda and Congaree
Lexington, SC


#12 JasonL

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  • Kentucky

Posted 26 April 2018 - 09:05 AM

Couple of thoughts here.

First I want to say I greatly respect the opinions of Brian and Dustin. That said, I wonder if there is not some regional variation with orangespots as there are with other Lepomis.

The fish in question was caught in a muddy floodplain where I rarely find longear. Textbook orangespot habitat. There are large numbers of them that look just like this in this area and I've never found one over 3 inches and aquarium/pond specimens I've kept have peaked out at this too. When I get time I'll try to track down some other pics from the same area from another trip and some aquarium pics. I'm not sure the picture does it justice but there is a metallic sheen to it when in different lighting like you see with orangespots.

Would be really surprised if this is pure longears just based on my collection experience and keeping them. My .02 cents.

#13 smbass

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 09:26 PM

There is a good chance they are the Mississippi flood plain version of a Longear. When at the OK convention we found both the Ozark red stripe form of Longear and the flood plain form in the same basin within a few miles of one another. Seems like the same thing could be happening in western KY with typical megalotis and the flood plain form coming in contact with one another. Personally feel that form is very different than typical Longear, whether you want to call it a new species or subspecies is up for debate but it is a different animal. Maybe this is what your catching there, habitat would then make sense.

Brian J. Zimmerman

Gambier, Ohio - Kokosing River Drainage


#14 JasonL

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 09:09 PM

Brian that is a plausible scenario for this area. Good thoughts.

#15 jeffreyconte

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 08:38 PM

For what it's worth, the second to last looks exactly like the orangespots that I collect in the backwaters of the Mississippi River here in Illinois. They're my favorite fish and I have raised dozens to adulthood from YOY that I collect.



#16 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 09:19 PM

Second to last Lepomis of Jason's photos?


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#17 jeffreyconte

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 08:54 PM

Sorry! The second to last Lepomis of Jason's photos.



#18 JasonL

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 06:14 PM

Went back to this area again today. Here is the habitat: mix of swamp and floodplain. Think sunfish are on beds, found a lot of them in the shallows like this.

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Some samples:
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This last fish was the highlight of my day. Redspotted sunfish, listed as a threatened species here in KY and pretty uncommon. This is only the second one I've ever found and was in with a bunch of Orangespots.

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That's 7 Lepomis species one spot. Good times.



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