Redbreast Sunfish - Lepomis auritus

Redbreast Sunfish - Photo credit: Karsten Hartel

Habitat requirements and life history: Other common names for this fish include: redbelly, robin, yellowbelly sunfish, bream, river bream, sun perch and redbreast bream. The redbreast sunfish is a native sunfish that prefers clear, slowly-flowing water. It tends to be more of a river species than other sunfish. They feed primarily on insects, but will also eat crustaceans, fish eggs, very small fish and aquatic vegetation. Like all sunfish, redbreast sunfish breed in the spring in shallow, saucer-shaped nests scooped out by the males. Redbreast sunfish build nests likes bluegills, but the nests are in smaller groups and located farther apart. The nest is usually near shelter, such as stumps and logs, and is often one abandoned by other sunfishes. The females lay their eggs in the nests, but after the males fertilize the eggs, the males drive off the females and fan the eggs with their tails until the eggs hatch. The males will stay to protect the young until they can fend for themselves. (Sources: Massachusetts Wildlife, No. 2, 2000, Special Fishing Issue, AMC Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New England, and Freshwater Fishes of the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, & Delaware)

Total length: 4-8 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   88
Nashoba Brook 32  
Total 32 88

*Sources:
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.