Wow! I thought I had a pretty good handle on the various sunfish species in the U.S. And yesterday I discovered a handful MORE that I definitely wasn't familiar with. Some look similar to other panfish, but aren't just a "local name"....they are actually recognized as separate species.
Rather than just post the ones that were "new to me", I thought I would try to compile a comprehensive list of panfish in the U.S., along with a picture (if I can find one). Bass are in the Sunfish family, but I'm not going to include those here.
In Iowa, we have a good opportunity to encounter 9 of these species. There are a total of 26 of these non-bass sunfish!
I'll start with the ones most of us already know, and work into the less well known ones.
Longear Sunfish (not my photo):
Northern Sunfish (not my photo):
Redbreast Sunfish (not my photo):
Redspotted Sunfish (not my photo):
Dollar Sunfish (not my photo):
Mud Sunfish (not my photo):
Banded Sunfish (not my photo):
Bantam Sunfish (not my photo):
Sacramento Perch (not my photo):
Roanoke Bass (not my photo):
Ozark Bass (not my photo):
Shadow Bass (not my photo):
Hybrid Sunfish occur frequently in nature. There are many different potential hybrids!
Here’s some pictures of Hybrids I’ve caught:
The vertical barring and operculum on this one are especially perplexing:
I believe these are all Bluegill x Green Sunfish hybrids:
Based on the cheek markings on the one below…this one could be a non-spawning Redear, or maybe a backcrossed Redear x Bluegill. I dunno….