The Pumpkinseed is a beautiful, colourful, introduced freshwater fish species in British Columbia that is native to northeastern North America where it is common. It has been widely introduced in western North America and globally (McPhail 2007). According to Carl and Guiget (1958)
, the exact date of introduction of this species in the Pacific northwest is unknown, but it is likely that it was introduced in BC with other fish species. It is now reported from lakes, ponds, slow streams and sloughs in south-central and south-western British Columbia (McPhail 2007). It is primarily a shallow water species usually found in warm littoral areas where it is active during the day. Sometimes, however, it is found in cooler, deeper open water.
The Pumpkinseed is a type of sunfish. The body of the Pumpkinseed is noticeably laterally compressed. In its native range, individuals reache lengths of 178-229 mm (Scott and Crossman 1973), but this species is rarely larger than 200 mm in BC (McPhail 2007). Males are usually more brightly coloured than paler females. Colour ranges from orange, green, yellow, or blue speckles, with an olive back, yellow sides and a yellow to orange belly and breast. McPhail (2007) describes breeding males as particularly colourful: "they have conspicuous wavy blue lines on the sides of the head, an orange or red spot at the tip of a black opercular flap, bronze flanks dappled with an irregular pattern of lighter wavy lines, and an orange-red belly" (McPhail 2007). Sharp spines are present in the dorsal and anal fins.
The Pumpkinseed spawns from spring to early summer, with reports of spawning as late as July and August in the native part of its range (Scott and Crossman 1973). Males excavates spawning pits in clay, sand or gravel in areas where there is aquatic vegetation (Scott and Crossman 1973, McPhail 2007). Usually more than one female will lay eggs in a single pit, where the number of eggs present may range from 600 to 14,000 eggs (McPhail 2007, Scott and Crossman 1973). Males guard nests, and also guard the fry for the first 7 to 11 days after hatching (McPhail 2007, Scott and Crossman 1973).
The Pumpkinseed is known to hybridize with other fish species, including the Bluegill, another introduced species in British Columbia (Scott and Crossman 1973).
View a video of the Pumpkinseed.