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Common name:Bluegill sunfish
Scientific name:Lepomis macrochirus
The bluegill sunfish reaches up to 35cm in length and 1kg in weight, with a compressed ovoid body shape. Body colouration iridescent greeny-blue with vague vertical bands along the body. Jaw and gills blue, breeding males develop an orange chest. Large eyes with a small upturned mouth. Native to eastern and central North America. Preys on insects, small invertebrates as well as small fish and frogs.
Where does this species come from?United States of America.
What is its invasive status in South Africa?NEMBA – Category 1b
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Western and Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Mpumalanga and Gauteng
How does it spread?Through interlinked water systems and deliberate human introduction.
Why is it a problem?Dominates the fish fauna in areas where it has been introduced. Has the tendency to overpopulate, resulting in stunted populations dominated by smaller fish. Results in considerable pressure exerted in invertebrates and on juveniles of indigenous fishes.
What does it look like?Description: Up to 35cm and 1kg, with compressed ovoid body shape. Body colouration iridescent greeny-blue with vague vertical bands along the body. Jaw and gills blue, breeding males develop an orange chest. Large eyes with a small upturned mouth. Habitat: Freshwater species, inhabiting slow-flowing or still waters such as dams and lakes. Breeding: Territorial when breeding. Males construct a nest and guards eggs and larvae.