Lepomis gibbosus
Lepomis gibbosus
Native Transplant
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Lepomis gibbosus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common name: Pumpkinseed

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Moyle (1976); Becker (1983); Page and Burr (1991); Jenkins and Burkhead (1994).

Size: 30 cm.

Native Range: Atlantic Slope drainages from New Brunswick to Edisto River, South Carolina; Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and upper Mississippi basins from Quebec and New York west to southeastern Manitoba and North Dakota, and south to northern Kentucky and Missouri (Page and Burr 1991).

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Alaska auto-generated map
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Puerto Rico &
Virgin Islands
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Guam Saipan
Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Introduced to many areas west of native range. States where stockings have occurred in nonnative areas include: a pond near Safford in Graham County, Arizona (Minckley 1973); sloughs of the Susan River in Lassen County, near Mecca in Riverside County, the Klamath, Santa Ana (Big Bear Lake), and Honey Lake drainages in California (Moyle 1976; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1993e; Dill and Cordone 1997); the Platte, Republican, Arkansas and Rio Grande (San Luis Valley) drainages in Colorado (Everhart and Seaman 1971; Ellis 1974; Zuckerman and Behnke 1986; Rasmussen 1998; Beckman 1952); Kootenai, Pend Orielle, Spokane, Snake, and Palouse drainages in Idaho (Linder 1963; Simpson and Wallace 1978; Idaho Fish and Game 1990); the Big Muddy and Little Wabash systems in Illinois (Burr and Page 1986); southern artificial lakes including an artificial lake in Brown County and another in Clay County, Indiana (Gerking 1945; Nelson and Gerking 1968); southwestern Iowa (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Harlan et al. 1987); a pond in Johnson County, Kansas (Cross 1967; KU 10274); Licking River (Burr and Page 1986) in Rowan County, Greenbo Lake in Greenup County (both locations based on the fact that this species had not been collected here prior to Burr's 1980 paper) (Burr and Warren 1986), and possibly the Ohio River in Kentucky (Burr 1980); the Youghiogheny drainage in Maryland (Lee et al. 1976, 1981); a few lakes in the Lake Superior drainage in Minnesota (Eddy and Underhill 1974; Phillips et al. 1982); possibly the Meramec River in Crawford County and Salt Creek in Chariton County, Missouri (Pflieger 1975, 1997; Cross et al. 1986); the upper Missouri River, and the Yellowstone, Milk, Beaver, Tongue, Stillwater, Marias, Little Missouri, Kootenai, Flathead, and Clark Fork drainages in Montana (Brown 1971; Cross et al. 1986; Holton 1990; Madison 2003; Mann 2004); the upper Niobrara River and southeastern Nebraska (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Cross et al. 1986); Dufurrena Ponds in Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, Humboldt County, Nevada (Deacon and Williams 1984; Sigler and Sigler 1987); upper New, upper Tennessee (Menhinick 1991), the South Fork Catawba (Shute 2000), and perhaps the Pee Dee (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994) drainages in North Carolina; extreme eastern North Dakota (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.); southern Ohio (Trautman 1981); the Klamath, Willamette, Deschutes, Powder, Goose Lake, lower Columbia, middle Columbia-Hood, Nehalem, Malheur, Snake, South Umpqua, Willow, Lost, Marion, and Rogue drainages and Triangle Lake, Lane County; Spring Lake, Tillamook County; Oxbow, Brownlee, and Hells Canyon Reservoirs, Baker County in Oregon (Lampman 1946; Wydoski and Whitney 1979; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1993e; Anonymous 2001; Chapman 1942; Logan 1995); Youghiogheny drainage, Pennsylvania (Hendricks et al. 1979); at Lake Guajataca in Puerto Rico; Big Sioux, James, White, Bad, and Grand drainages in South Dakota (Cleary 1956; Bailey and Allum 1962; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Cross et al. 1986); Boone and South Holston reservoirs on the South Fork Holston River, Tennessee drainage in Tennessee (Starnes and Etnier 1986; Etnier and Starnes 1993); New, Holston, Powell, and perhaps the Delaware drainages in Virginia (Hocutt et al. 1986; Jenkins and Burkhead 1994); the Columbia River and lakes in western Washington (Lampman 1946; Gray and Dauble 1977; Wydoski and Whitney 1979); the New, Gauley, Greenbrier, and possibly the Monongahela drainage in West Virginia (Hocutt et al. 1986; Stauffer et al. 1995); and Sloans Lake in Cheyenne, Festo Lake near Wheatland, sloughs near the North Platte River at Guernsey, and sloughs along the Big Horn River near Kane, Wyoming (Simon 1946; Baxter and Simon 1970; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Cross et al. 1986; Hubert 1994).

Means of Introduction: Intentional stocking for sportfishing. Trautman (1981) reported this species was originally absent from the southern unglaciated part of Ohio. However, he implies construction of canals gave them access to those areas and, furthermore, millions of Pumpkinseeds were stocked in southern Ohio between 1920 and 1950.

Status: Established in most locations where introduced. Extirpated in Arizona (Minckley 1973). Reported in Kansas, but failed to become established (Cross 1967).

Impact of Introduction: Pumpkinseeds will hybridize with most other Lepomis, especially with bluegill and green sunfish. The result is usually fast-growing, sterile male hybrids (Moyle 1976).

Casal (2006) listed the Pumpkinseed among the top ten introduced fish species with adverse ecological effects. It has been reported to be responsible for the decline of other fish species (Welcomme 1988) as well as gastropods (Osenberg et al. 1992).  Van Kleef et al. (2008) found that macroinvertebrate abundance was 83% lower in areas invaded by Pumpkinseeds in the Netherlands. Kynard (1979) found that decline in abundance of threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) was related to an increased abundance of Pumpkinseeds in Wapato Lake, WA.

Remarks: Sigler and Miller (1963), Sigler and Sigler (1987, 1996) make no mention of Pumpkinseeds in Utah. Although Burr (1980) lists this species as probably introduced to the Ohio River in Kentucky, resulting from escapees from commercial fishing lakes and farm ponds, Burr and Warren (1986) believed they were more likely strays from the upper Ohio River. Menhinick (1991) reports Pumpkinseeds as native and introduced in all remaining drainages (other than New and Tennessee) in the state. It is unclear if these introductions are within their native range in those drainages or outside their native range. Cross et al. (1986) also listed the Pumpkinseed as introduced into the Kansas River drainage but did not indicate which state. No records were found for this drainage in Kansas (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Cross and Collins 1995) or Nebraska (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.). However, Cross (1967) stated that he believes all previous records of Pumpkinseeds in the Kansas drainage are actually L. megalotis. He gave a discussion of reasons for the misnomer and the perpetuated error. However, he did give one "recent" (circa 1967) record from Johnson County (KU 10274) which may have been in the Kansas drainage. This could be the basis for the Cross et al. (1986) report.

References: (click for full references)

Anonymous 2001. Oregon's Warm Water Fishing with Public Access. [online]. URL at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/ODFwhtml/FishText/WWFishing/WWFishAL.html

Casal, C.M.V.  2006. Global documentation of fish introductions: the growing crisis and recommendations for action. Biol Invasions 8:3–11.

Kynard, B.E. 1979. Population decline and change in frequencies of lateral plates in threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Copeia 1979(4):635-638. http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/1443870.pdf.

Madison, D. 2003. Outlaw Introductions. Montana Outdoors. July/August: 26-35.

Moyle, P.B. 1976. Inland fishes of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Osenberg C.W., G.G. Mittelbach, and P.C. Wainwright. 1992. Two-stage life histories in fish: the interaction between juvenile competition and adult performance. Ecology 73:

Rasmussen, J.L. 1998. Aquatic nuisance species of the Mississippi River basin. 60th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Aquatic Nuisance Species Symposium, Dec. 7, 1998, Cincinnati, OH.

van Kleef, H., G. van der Velde, R.S.E. Leuven, and H. Esselink. 2008. Pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) invasions facilitated by introductions and nature management strongly reduce macroinvertebrate abundance in isolated water bodies. Biological Invasions. 10:1481-1490.

Welcomme, R.L. 1988.  International introductions of inland aquatic species. FAO fisheries technical paper no. 294. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

Other Resources:
Distribution in Illinois - ILNHS

FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, and Matt Cannister

Revision Date: 4/12/2013

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Cannister, 2018, Lepomis gibbosus (Linnaeus, 1758): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=382, Revision Date: 4/12/2013, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 3/22/2018

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.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [3/22/2018].

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