Pumpkinseed - Lepomis gibbosus

Pumpkinseed - Bill Byrne, MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Habitat requirements and life history: The pumpkinseed, often referred to as a "kiver" or "kibbie" in New England, is the most widespread and colorful native sunfish in Massachusetts. Pumpkinseeds inhabit lakes, ponds, slow-moving streams that are cool, quiet, shallow and weedy. They generally favor slightly cooler waters than the bluegill. They feed primarily on insects, but will also eat crustaceans, fish eggs, very small fish and aquatic vegetation. Like all sunfish, pumpkinseeds breed in the spring in shallow, saucer-shaped nests scooped out by the males. Unlike bluegills, which usually concentrate their nests in colonies, pumpkinseeds place their nests in scattered locations. The males round up one or more females and bring them to the nest to lay eggs. After the male fertilizes the eggs, he drives off the female and fans the eggs with his tail until they hatch. He will stay to protect the young until they can fend for themselves. (Sources: Massachusetts Wildlife, No. 2, 2000, Special Fishing Issue and AMC Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New England)

Total length: 4-5 inches (occasionally up to 10 inches)
Pollution tolerance (US EPA): Intermediate tolerance
Classification: Macrohabitat generalist

Number of fish found during 1954 & 2001 Fish Surveys*.

Location No. of Fish 1954 No. of Fish 2001
Assabet River 353 221
Assabet Brook   30
Elizabeth Brook   4
Forth Meadow Brook 1 20
Hog Brook   1
Hop Brook 5  
Mill Brook   29
Nashoba Brook 166 10
North Brook 21 18
Stirrup Brook 4  
Spencer Brook 29 5
UNT Assabet River   1
Total 579 339

DFW. 2001. Assabet Watershed Fish Survey. Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), Westborough, MA.

Schlotterbeck, L.C. and W.A. Tompkins. 1954. "A Fisheries Investigation of the Merrimack and Ipswich River Drainages." Bureau of Wildlife Research and Management, Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Westborough, MA.