Lepomis macrochirus
Lepomis macrochirus
Native Transplant
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Lepomis macrochirus Rafinesque, 1819

Common name: Bluegill

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Moyle (1976); Becker (1983); Page and Burr (1991); Jenkins and Burkhead (1994). Two subspecies: L. macrochirus mystacalis in Peninsular Florida, and L. m. macrochirus throughout the rest of the range (C. Gilbert, personal communication).

Size: 41 cm.

Native Range: St. Lawrence-Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins from Quebec and New York to Minnesota and south to the Gulf; Atlantic and Gulf Slope drainages from the Cape Fear River, Virginia, to the Rio Grande, Texas and New Mexico. Also in northern Mexico (Page and Burr 1991).

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

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Bluegills have been stocked widely both within and outside their native range. They have been stocked in Arkansas (Robison and Buchanan 1988); Arizona (Minckley 1973; Hendrickson et al. 1980; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Tyus et al. 1982; Miller and Lowe 1967; USFWS 2005); California (Smith 1896; Shebley 1917; Nelae 1931; Lampman 1946; Moyle 1976; Shapovalov et al. 1981; Moyle and Daniels 1982; Smith 1982; Taylor et al. 1982; Dill and Cordone 1997; Tilmant 1999; Sommer et al. 2001; Matern et al. 2002; USFWS 2005; Harvey 2002); Colorado (Everhart and Seaman 1971; Ellis 1974; Holden and Stalnaker 1975; Tyus et al. 1982; Wiltzius 1985; Propst and Carlson 1986; Rasmussen 1998; Tilmant 1999; Beckman 1952); Connecticut (Webster 1942; Behnke and Wetzel 1960; Whitworth et al. 1968; Schmidt 1986; Whitworth 1996); Delaware (Lee et al. 1976, 1980 et seq., 1981); District of Columbia (Tilmant 1999); Hawaii (Brock 1960; Courtenay et al. 1984; Devick 1991b); Idaho (Linder 1963; Simpson and Wallace 1978; Idaho Fish and Game 1990, 1996; Anonymous 2004); Illinois (Burr, personal communication); Indiana (Blatchley 1938); Kansas (Cross 1967); Maine (Halliwell 2003); Maryland (Lee et al. 1976; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Lee et al. 1981; Tilmant 1999; Starnes et al. 2011); Massachusetts (Schmidt 1986; Hartel 1992; Cardoza et al. 1993; Hartel et al. 1996; USFWS 2005); Michigan (Hubbs and Lagler 1947); Minnesota (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Tilmant 1999); Montana (Brown 1971; Cross et al. 1986; Holton 1990; Madison 2003); Nebraska (Jones 1963; Morris et al. 1974); Nevada (Moffett 1943; Miller and Alcorn 1946; La Rivers 1962; Bradley and Deacon 1967; Deacon and Williams 1984; Insider Viewpoint 2001; Tilmant 1999; Vinyard 2001); New Hampshire (Scarola 1973; Schmidt 1986; Tilmant 1999); New Jersey (Fowler 1920, 1952; Stiles 1978; Soldwedel, personal communication; Tilmant 1999); New Mexico (Koster 1957; Tyus et al. 1982; Sublette et al. 1990; Platania 1991); New York (Smith 1985; Schmidt 1986; Tilmant 1999; USFWS 2005); North Carolina (Hocutt et al. 1986; Menhinick 1991); North Dakota (Owen et al. 1981); Ohio (Trautman 1981); Oklahoma (Miller and Robison 1973); Oregon (Lampman 1946; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1993e, 2005; Bond 1994; Anonymous 2001; Ridler 2004); Pennsylvania (Cooper 1983); Puerto Rico (Erdsman 1984; Lee 1983); Rhode Island (Lapin, personal communication); South Carolina (Rohde, personal communication); South Dakota (Underhill 1959; Bailey and Allum 1962); Texas (Howells 1987; Howells and Prentice 1991; Waldrip 1993); Utah (Sigler and Miller 1963; Tyus et al. 1982; Tilmant 1999); Virginia (Hocutt et al. 1986; Jenkins and Burkhead 1994; Starnes et al. 2011); Washington (Smith 1896; Gray and Dauble 1977; Wydoski and Whitney 1979; Chapman 1942; Four Seasons Campground and Resort 2003; USFWS 2005; Chapman 1933); West Virginia (Stauffer et al. 1995); Wisconsin (Becker 1983); and Wyoming (Baxter and Simon 1970; Hubert 1994).

Means of Introduction: Intentional stocking for sportfishing.

Status: Established in most locations.

Impact of Introduction: In California, aggressive Bluegill outcompete native Sacramento perch Archoplites interruptus (Moyle et al. 1974; Moyle 1976). Bluegill may chase Sacramento perch away from spawning areas and out of favored places, such as shallow weedy areas, and into open water (Moyle 1976). Once in open water, the perch are more vulnerable to predation and have less available food. Introduced predatory centrarchids are likely responsible for the decline of native ranid frogs in California, California tiger salamander Ambystoma californiense populations (Hayes and Jennings 1986; Dill and Cordone 1997), and the Chiricahua leopard frog Rana chiricahuensis in southeastern Arizona (Rosen et al. 1995).

Hybridizes with green sunfish, redear sunfish, redbreast sunfish, and warmouth (Scribner et al. 2001).

Remarks: Bluegill are commonly stocked as forage for largemouth bass in farm ponds. Because introduced California Bluegill are typically small, possibly due to a limited genetic background, the California Department of Fish and Game began introducing Bluegill from Florida in an effort to obtain a larger, faster-growing fish (Moyle 1976). Tyus et al. (1982) gave a distribution map of the this species in the upper Colorado basin.

References: (click for full references)

Anonymous 2001. Oregon's Warm Water Fishing with Public Access. [online]. URL at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/warm_water_fishing/index.asphttp://www.dfw.state.or.us/warm_water_fishing/index.asp.

Becker, G.C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. University of Madison Press, Madison, WI.

Bradley, W. G. and J. E. Deacon. 1967. The biotic communities of southern Nevada. Nevada State Museum Anthropological Papers No. 13, Part 4. 201--273.

Dill, W.A., and A.J. Cordone. 1997. History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996. California Department of Fish and Game Fish Bulletin, volume 178.

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.

Halliwell, D.B. 2003. Introduced Fish in Maine. MABP series: Focus on Freshwater Biodiversity.

Hayes, M.P., and M.R. Jennings. 1986. Decline of ranid frog species in western North America: are bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) responsible? Journal of Herpetology 20(4):490-509.

Insider Viewpoint. 2001. Fishing Records - Nevada. Insider Viewpoint Magazine. 3 pp.

Jenkins, R.E., and N.M. Burkhead. 1994. Freshwater Fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Linder, A. D. 1963. Idaho's Alien Fishes. TEBIWA, 6(2), 12-15.

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

Matern, S.A., P.B. Moyle, and L.C. Pierce. 2002. Native and alien fishes in a California estuarine marsh: twenty-one years of changing assemblages. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 131: 797-816.

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

Moyle, P.B., S.B. Matthews, and N. Bonderson. 1974. Feeding habits of the Sacramento perch, Archoplites interruptus. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 103(2):399-402.

Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Guide Series, vol. 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

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.

Robison, H.W., and T.M. Buchanan. 1998. Fishes of Arkansas. University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, AR.

Rosen, P.C., C.R. Schwalbe, D.A. Parizek, Jr., P.A. Holm, and C.H. Lowe. 1995. Introduced aquatic vertebrates in the Chiricahua region: effects on declining native ranid frogs. Pages 251-261 in DeBano, L.H., P.H. Folliott, A. Ortega-Rubio, G.J. Gottfried, R.H. Hamre, and C.B. Edminster, eds. Biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago: the sky islands of southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. Fort Collins, CO.

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.

Smith, C.L. 1985. The inland fishes of New York State. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

Sommer, T, B. Harrell, M. Nobriga, R. Brown, P. Moyle, W. Kimmerer, and L. Schemel. 2001. California's Yolo Bypass: Evidence that flood control can be compatible with fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, and agriculture. Fisheries. American Fisheries Society. 26 (8): 6-16.

Stauffer, J.R., Jr., J.M. Boltz, and L.R. White. 1995. The fishes of West Virginia. West Virginia Department of Natural Resources.

Sublette, J.E., M.D. Hatch, and M. Sublette. 1990. The fishes of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM.

Tilmant, J.T. 1999. Management of nonindigenous aquatic fish in the U.S. National Park System. National Park Service. 50 pp.

Tyus, H. M., B. D. Burdick, R. A. Valdez, C. M. Haynes, T. A. Lytle, and C. R. Berry. 1982. Fishes of the upper Colorado River basin: distribution, abundance, and status. Pages 12--70 in W. H. Miller, H. M. Tyus, and C. A. Carlson, editors. Fishes of the upper Colorado River system: present and future, Western Division, American Fisheries Society.

Waldrip, L. 1993. 1992 fish stocking report. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. January 8, 1993. 1993: 9-12.

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 macrochirus Rafinesque, 1819: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=385, Revision Date: 4/12/2013, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 3/20/2018

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 [3/20/2018].

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