Characteristics and Behavior:
Redbreast sunfish are small freshwater fish, typically reaching 6-7 inches in length. They have a deep, laterally compressed body with a greenish-blue back, yellowish sides, and a reddish-orange breast and belly. The species gets its name from the bright red spot on the ear flap of the male during the breeding season. Redbreast sunfish are opportunistic feeders, consuming aquatic insects, crustaceans, and small fish, and can be found near aquatic vegetation.
- Redbreast sunfish are found throughout the eastern United States, ranging from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.
- They inhabit shallow, slow-moving or still waters such as streams, ponds, and lakes with vegetation cover.
- Redbreast sunfish typically live for 5-6 years in the wild.
- They reach maturity at around 2 years of age and spawn during the summer months.
- Females lay eggs on a substrate and males guard the eggs until hatching, which takes around 4-7 days depending on temperature.
- Redbreast sunfish are a popular sport fish and are often caught by anglers using live bait or artificial lures.
- The species is known for its distinctive "grunting" vocalizations, which are produced by grinding their pharyngeal teeth together.
- Redbreast sunfish are capable of surviving in oxygen-poor environments by using their gills to extract oxygen from air bubbles trapped in aquatic vegetation.