Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Longear Sunfish

Longear Sunfish
I was out of town last weekend so I was unable to bird the neighborhood. But a couple weeks ago I took this photo of another kind of colorful wildlife we have. A few days after the flood I found this beautiful male Longear Sunfish in the creek near the last dam. I was happy to see that all the fish weren't swept away. In fact, the water was much clearer than usual and it was fun to admire the colors on this fish. Red eye, blue lips, bright orange body -- wow!

This male was one of several defending a cleared circle on the bottom where his mate had laid her eggs. Whenever another fish came too close he'd chase it away and then return to the center of his circle. I'd love to learn more about the breeding schedule of the fish on our creek. I would have expected it to be too late to see male fish defending nests. In this photo I tried to show these fish nests. If you click on it you can see where I marked each nest on the Flickr page.

Sunfish Nests

Now that the weather has finally turned I can't wait to get out in the neighborhood again!


The Crotchety Old Man said...

I've had at least one freshwater aquarium up and running for most of my life. The diversity of breeding habits among fish is amazing. I'm not up on sunfish but would agree this is an unusual time for them to breed. I suspect the flooding tricked them into thinking it was spring.

Mikael Behrens said...

Thanks TCOM! I'll have to keep a closer eye on these guys in the creek, and see if they breed this late again next year.