The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Lepomis auritus
Lepomis auritus
(Redbreast Sunfish)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Lepomis auritus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common name: Redbreast Sunfish

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Smith (1985); Hubbs et al. (1991); Page and Burr (1991); Jenkins and Burkhead (1994).

Size: 24 cm.

Native Range: Atlantic and Gulf Slope drainages, from New Brunswick to central Florida, and west to the Apalachicola and Choctawhatchee drainages, Georgia and Florida (Page and Burr 1991).

Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Lepomis auritus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AL1955202025Black Warrior-Tombigbee; Cahaba; Choctawhatchee; Coosa-Tallapoosa; Guntersville Lake; Locust; Lower Black Warrior; Lower Choctawhatchee; Lower Conecuh; Lower Coosa; Lower Tallapoosa; Middle Alabama; Middle Coosa; Middle Tallapoosa; Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga; Middle Tombigbee-Lubbub; Pea; Perdido; Pickwick Lake; Sipsey Fork; Upper Black Warrior; Upper Choctawhatchee; Upper Coosa; Upper Tallapoosa; Wheeler Lake
AR1962200210Buffalo; Lake Conway-Point Remove; Little Red; Lower Arkansas-Fourche La Fave; Lower White; Middle White; Petit Jean; Spring; Upper Ouachita; Upper White
FL196220207Blackwater; Florida Southeast Coast; Lower Choctawhatchee; Pensacola Bay; Perdido; St. Andrew-St. Joseph Bays; Yellow
GA1955202010Conasauga; Coosawattee; Etowah; Hiwassee; Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga; Ocoee; Oostanaula; Upper Chattahoochee; Upper Coosa; Upper Tallapoosa
KY1978201014Kentucky; Licking; Licking; Lower Cumberland; Lower Kentucky; Lower Levisa; Lower Tennessee; Middle Green; Pond; Rough; Tradewater; Upper Cumberland; Upper Cumberland-Lake Cumberland; Upper Levisa
LA196420004Lower Calcasieu; Sabine; Sabine Lake; Toledo Bend Reservoir
NY197820102Raquette; St. Regis
NC1949202311French Broad-Holston; Hiwassee; Lower Little Tennessee; Nolichucky; Pigeon; Tuckasegee; Upper French Broad; Upper Little Tennessee; Upper New; Upper Tennessee; Watauga, North Carolina, Tennessee
OK196120006Arkansas-White-Red Region; Bois D'arc-Island; Groesbeck-Sandy; Red-Lake Texoma; Red-Little; Robert S. Kerr Reservoir
PR195820145Cibuco-Guajataca; Culebrinas-Guanajibo; Eastern Puerto Rico; Puerto Rico; Southern Puerto Rico
SD200320032Grand; Lower Moreau
TN1956202328Caney; Conasauga; Emory; Hiwassee; Holston; Kentucky Lake; Lower Clinch; Lower Elk; Lower French Broad; Lower Hatchie; Lower Little Tennessee; Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga; Nolichucky; North Fork Forked Deer; North Fork Holston; Ocoee; Pigeon; Powell; Sequatchie; South Fork Holston; South Fork Obion; Tuckasegee; Upper Clinch, Tennessee, Virginia; Upper French Broad; Upper Tennessee; Watauga, North Carolina, Tennessee; Watts Bar Lake; Wheeler Lake
TX1925202363Amistad Reservoir; Aransas Bay; Austin-Travis Lakes; Buchanan-Lyndon B. Johnson Lakes; Cedar; Concho; Elm Fork Red; Elm-Sycamore; Hondo; Hubbard; Independence; International Falcon Reservoir; Lake O'the Pines; Lake Texoma; Llano; Los Olmos; Lower Angelina; Lower Brazos-Little Brazos; Lower Colorado-Cummins; Lower Devils; Lower Guadalupe; Lower Neches; Lower Pecos; Lower Sabine; Lower Sulpher; Lower Trinity-Kickapoo; Lower West Fork Trinity; Medina; Middle Brazos-Lake Whitney; Middle Brazos-Palo Pinto; Middle Colorado-Elm; Middle Concho; Middle Guadalupe; Middle Sabine; Navasota; Navidad; North Concho; North Llano; Nueces Headwaters; Pedernales; Red-Washita; Sabine; Sabine Lake; San Ambrosia-Santa Isabel; San Gabriel; San Marcos; San Saba; South Concho; South Llano; Toledo Bend Reservoir; Toyah; Upper Angelina; Upper Colorado; Upper Frio; Upper Guadalupe; Upper Neches; Upper Nueces; Upper San Antonio; West Fork San Jacinto; West Galveston Bay; West Nueces; West San Antonio Bay; Wichita
VT201120111Winooski River
VA194520237Kanawha; Middle New; North Fork Holston; Powell; Upper James; Upper Levisa; Upper New
WV197320028Coal; Greenbrier; Kanawha; Lower Guyandotte; Lower New; Middle New; Tygart Valley; Upper Monongahela

Table last updated 5/27/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Intentional stocking for sportfishing.

Status: Established in most locations.

Impact of Introduction: There is circumstantial evidence to indicate that Redbreast Sunfish are displacing native longear sunfish (L. megalotis) in eastern Tennessee through direct competition (Etnier and Starnes 1993). Will form natural hybrids with warmouth, green, bluegill, and pumpkinseed sunfish (Scribner et al. 2001).

Remarks: In North Carolina, Menhinick (1991) lists this species as introduced into the New and Tennessee drainages. There are no records of Redbreast Sunfish from Mississippi (Scott and Crossman 1973; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.). It is also not mentioned in the manuscript on Mississippi fishes by Ross and Brenneman (1991). This species is not mentioned as occurring in Kentucky by Clay (1975). In their book on Alabama fishes, Mettee et al. (1996) presented some conflicting information regarding native versus introduced ranges. These researchers stated that Lepomis auritus is introduced to the Tennessee, Black Warrior, and Choctawhatchee drainages, but they listed the species as "native" in their summary table.

References: (click for full references)

Erdsman, D.S.  1984.  Exotic fishes in Puerto Rico, p 162-176, In:  W.R.Jr. Courtenay and J.R.Jr. Stauffer, eds. Distribution, Biology, and Management of Exotic Fishes. John Hopkins. Baltimore and London.

Etnier, D.A. and W.C. Starnes. 1993. The Fishes of Tennessee. The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN.

Red River Authority of Texas. 2001. Red and Canadian Basins Fish Inventory: Cottle County. Red River Authority of Texas.

Red River Authority of Texas. 2001. Red and Canadian Basins Fish Inventory: Grayson County. Red River Authority of Texas.

Red River Authority of Texas. 2001. Red and Canadian Basins Fish Inventory: Red River County. Red River Authority of Texas.

Scribner, K.T., K.S. Page, and M.L. Bartron. 2001. Hybridization in freshwater fishes: a review of case studies and cytonuclear methods of biological inference. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 10:293-323.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, and Matt Cannister

Revision Date: 8/30/2023

Peer Review Date: 4/12/2013

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Cannister, 2024, Lepomis auritus (Linnaeus, 1758): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=379, Revision Date: 8/30/2023, Peer Review Date: 4/12/2013, Access Date: 5/27/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [5/27/2024].

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