Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Lepomis gibbosus



Lepomis gibbosus (pumpkinseed)


  • Last modified
  • 25 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Lepomis gibbosus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • pumpkinseed
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Actinopterygii
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Introduced to Europe from North America in the late 1800s (Maes, 1898), L. gibbosus is now established in a minimum...

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Lepomis gibbosus (pumpkinseed); artwork of adult fish.
TitleArtwork of adult fish
CaptionLepomis gibbosus (pumpkinseed); artwork of adult fish.
CopyrightReleased into the Public Domain by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service/National Digital Library - Original artwork by Duane Raver Jr.
Lepomis gibbosus (pumpkinseed); artwork of adult fish.
Artwork of adult fishLepomis gibbosus (pumpkinseed); artwork of adult fish.Released into the Public Domain by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service/National Digital Library - Original artwork by Duane Raver Jr.
Lepomis gibbosus (pumpkinseed); adult fish, approx. 11.5cm in length.
CaptionLepomis gibbosus (pumpkinseed); adult fish, approx. 11.5cm in length.
Copyright©Gordon H. Copp & Michael Godard - 2009
Lepomis gibbosus (pumpkinseed); adult fish, approx. 11.5cm in length.
AdultLepomis gibbosus (pumpkinseed); adult fish, approx. 11.5cm in length.©Gordon H. Copp & Michael Godard - 2009


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Lepomis gibbosus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Preferred Common Name

  • pumpkinseed

Other Scientific Names

  • Eupomotis gibbosus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Perca gibbosa Linnaeus, 1758
  • Pommotis vulgaris Richardson, 1836

International Common Names

  • French: perche soleil

Local Common Names

  • Belarus: soletschnaja pyba
  • Belgium: perche soleil; zonnebaars
  • Germany: Sonnenbarsch
  • Hungary: naphal
  • Italy: perisco sole
  • Latvia: soletschnaja pyba
  • Netherlands: zonnebaars
  • Poland: bass sloneczny
  • Portugal: perca-sol
  • Romania: biban-soare
  • Russian Federation: vysokotelyi solnechnyi okun
  • Slovenia: soncni ostriz
  • Spain: pez sol
  • Switzerland: perche soleil, persico sole, sonnenbarsch
  • Turkey: gunes baligi
  • Ukraine: soletschnaja pyba
  • Yugoslavia (former): soncni ostriz

Summary of Invasiveness

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Introduced to Europe from North America in the late 1800s (Maes, 1898), L. gibbosus is now established in a minimum of 28 countries in Europe and Asia Minor (Copp and Fox, 2007), with a population reported for Brazil and possibly also Chile. Initial reports (early 1900s) mentioned large specimens but with repeated introductions needed for establishment. Later in the 1930s, the species was blamed for the decline of native Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis), but this hypothesis was never tested. There is little direct evidence of adverse impacts except from Iberia. Few parasites are reported, though non-native monogeneans have been reported for Norwegian and English populations. Invasiveness in L. gibbosus appears to be a function of juvenile growth (length at age two) and age at maturity, with invasive populations reported almost exclusively for southern Europe, However, even in northern Europe, L. gibbosus may represent a considerable proportion of the fish assemblage in water bodies that have been subjected to human impacts. The species is not listed on any conservation alert list.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Actinopterygii
  •                     Order: Perciformes
  •                         Suborder: Percoidei
  •                             Family: Centrarchidae
  •                                 Genus: Lepomis
  •                                     Species: Lepomis gibbosus


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L. gibbosus is a very deep-bodied, laterally compressed, almost disc-like fish, usually 178–229 mm in total length. However, it can reach sizes up to 40 cm in total length, with weights normally less than 450 grams. The fish present an oval silhouette and are very compressed laterally. Body pigmentation includes orange, green, yellow, or blue speckles on an olive back, yellow sides and a yellow to orange belly and breast. As with all centrarchids, they have sharp spines in the dorsal and anal fins. Scott and Crossman (1973) provided the following detailed description: “The greatest body depth at the fifth or sixth dorsal spine, 27.8–42.5% of total length, angle from snout to origin of dorsal fin steep, back humped, rounded even under dorsal fins; caudal peduncle longer than deep, its depth 10.7–15.1% of total length. Head quite deep, rather long, length 26.1–31.5% of total length, narrow, angle steep, pronounced hollow over eye, opercular flap flexible only at tip, black at centre with narrow, coloured border and red spot; eye moderately large, diameter 21.7–36.1% of head length, ahead of center of head and moderately high; snout length 19.5–29.0% of head length; mouth terminal, only slightly oblique, rather small, gape reaching only to anterior nostril; maxillary short, 27.3–36.0% of head length, reaching to posterior nostril or anterior edge of eye; many short needle-like teeth in brushlike patches on jaws, and a single row on vomer, no palatine teeth; lower pharyngeal teeth, on pads at least half as wide as long, fewer, low, blunt and paved. Gill rakers short, stubby, about 8 on lower limb, 4 on upper. Branchiiostegal rays 6, 6 and 7, or 7. Fins: dorsals 2, broadly joined and appear as one, base of dorsal fins 45.6–49.6% of total length, usually at least twice length of anal base; first dorsal long, spiny, moderate height, 10 or 11 spines but usually 10, not great differently in length, last spine about two-thirds that of second dorsal; second dorsal soft rayed, higher but with base only two-thirds that of first dorsal, rays 10–12, usually 11, edge shallowly rounded; caudal only moderately broad, somewhat longer, shallowly forked, tips rounded; anal fin with base 22.8–25.7% of total length, less than half dorsal base, 3 sharp spines precede the 8–11 (usually 9) soft rays, base of spiny portion about one-third length of base of soft part; pelvic thoracic origin under first or second dorsal spine and 5 soft rays, fin moderately long, tip pointed, edge square; pectorals moderately high on body, not overly broad but long and pointed, length 20.5–30.0% of total length, 12–14, but usually 13 rays. Scales usually ctenoid, not large, crowded dorsally front and rear; lateral line complete, high with long shallow arch over pectoral fin, 35–47 lateral line scales. Peritoneum silvery; intestines well differentiated, usually 7 or 8 moderately long pyloric caeca. Vertebrae almost always 29, rarely 28.

Colour: Dorsal surface of head, body, and upper sides golden brown to olive, lower sides golden with irregular, wavy, interconnecting blue-green lines, ventral surface bronze to red-orange; sides of body and head flecked with spots of olive, orange or red and with blue, emerald, or green reflections. Sides with several vague vertical bars; sides of head with prominent, wavy, blue-green stripes; pupil of eye black, a narrow, iridescent, golden ring around this and larger area brownish dorsally, blue-green ventrally; opercular flap with wide, black centre, a narrow border with white, yellow, orange or blue with small half moon spot of bright red (sometimes orange, pink or yellow) at tip; leading edge of dorsal spines black, membranes of second dorsal, caudal, anal, and pelvic fins black, but no pronounced or distinct large black spots, small vague orange to olive spots on membranes of second dorsal and caudal fins, leading edge of pelvic whitish, trailing edge of second dorsal, caudal, and anal with narrow, iridescent yellow or blue-green edge; pectoral fins amber and clear.

Females paler; vertical bars more prominent. Hue of pattern variable depending on state and condition of individual, water clarity, and background. All colours intensified in breeding males. Young with much less colour pattern and only green to olive background colour

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


Georgia (Republic of)PresentIntroducedFroese and Pauly, 2009Few details and no confirmation available for this record
TurkeyWidespread2007Introduced1983Özcan, 2007


CongoPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988

North America

CanadaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroducedScott and Crossman, 1973Introduced on Vancouver Island, but present in southeast B.C. due to natural migration of fish introduced in the US to Colombia River
-ManitobaPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-New BrunswickPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-OntarioPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-QuebecPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedMinckley, 1973
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedDill and Cordone, 1997
-ColoradoPresentIntroducedRasmussen, 1998
-ConnecticutPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-DelawarePresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-GeorgiaPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-IdahoPresentIntroducedIdaho Fish and Game, 1990
-IllinoisPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-IndianaPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-IowaPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-KansasPresentIntroducedCross, 1967
-KentuckyPresentIntroducedBurr and Warren, 1986
-MainePresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-MarylandPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-MassachusettsPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-MichiganPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-MinnesotaPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-MissouriPresentIntroducedPflieger, 1997
-MontanaPresentIntroducedScott and Crossman, 1973
-NebraskaPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedHarrington et al., 2001
-New HampshirePresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-New JerseyPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-New YorkPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-North CarolinaPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-North DakotaPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-OhioPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-OregonPresentIntroducedScott and Crossman, 1973
-PennsylvaniaPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-Rhode IslandPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-South CarolinaPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-South DakotaPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-TennesseePresentIntroducedEtnier and Starnes, 1993
-VermontPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-VirginiaPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-WashingtonPresentIntroducedScott and Crossman, 1973
-West VirginiaPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-WisconsinPresentNativeScott and Crossman, 1973
-WyomingPresentIntroducedScott and Crossman, 1973

South America

BrazilPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroduced1966Magalhães and Ratton, 2005
ChilePresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988
VenezuelaPresentWelcomme, 1988


AustriaPresentIntroducedCopp and Fox, 2007
BelarusPresentIntroducedCopp and Fox, 2007
BelgiumLocalised2007Introduced1885Verreycken et al., 2007Occurs in both streams and still waters, but high densities are limited to human-altered waters
Bosnia-HercegovinaPresentIntroducedCopp and Fox, 2007
BulgariaPresentIntroducedCopp and Fox, 2007
CroatiaPresentIntroducedCopp and Fox, 2007
Czech RepublicLocalisedIntroducedCopp and Fox, 2007
DenmarkPresentIntroduced2002Jensen, 2002
FranceWidespreadIntroduced1890s Invasive Keith and Allardi, 2001Occurs in both streams and still waters, with high densities both in natural and human-altered waters
GermanyWidespreadIntroduced1882Freyhof, 2003
GreecePresent2000Introduced Invasive Neophytou and Giapis, 1994; Economidis et al., 2000
HungaryPresent1988Introduced1900sTandon, 1977a
ItalyWidespreadIntroduced1900Tandon, 1977b; Orrù et al., 2008
LatviaPresentElvira, 2001
LuxembourgLocalisedIntroducedCopp and Fox, 2007
NetherlandsWidespread2008Introduced1902 Invasive Kleef et al., 2008
NorwayPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced2004 Not invasive Sterud and Jørgensen, 2006Confirmed for one small pond to the west of Oslo
PolandPresent, few occurrences2009Introduced1978 Not invasive Witkowski, 1979Population associated with a heated water outfall, but at lest one other nearby population recently reported
PortugalWidespread2009Introduced Invasive Clavero and García-Berthou, 2006Successful in human-altered water bodies and water courses, but remains a background species in natural systems
RomaniaLocalised2005Introduced1960s Invasive Banarescu, 1964Most reports from Lake Fundata and from Danube Delta
SlovakiaPresentTomecek et al., 2005
SloveniaPresentIntroduced1800sPovz and ?umer, 2005; Sumer et al., 2005
SpainWidespreadIntroduced1910 Invasive Elvira and Almodóvar, 2001Improvement of wild stocks
SwitzerlandWidespreadIntroduced1877 Invasive Wittenberg, 2005
UKWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Cucherousset et al., 2009
UkraineCopp and Fox, 2007
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)LocalisedIntroducedCopp and Fox, 2007

History of Introduction and Spread

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The native distribution of L. gibbosus in North America is restricted to eastern North America, where sunfishes are known to have existed since the Miocene (Scott and Crossman, 1973). The species was introduced into European waters during the late nineteenth century, initially to the northwestern countries such as Belgium (Maes, 1898), France (Künstler, 1908), and Germany (Max von Borne, 1826–1894; cited in Freyhof, 2003) and then sometime during the period from 1890 to 1915 to the British Isles (Copp et al., 2002). Establishment in France was said to require repeated introductions (Künstler, 1908), but once established the rapid expansion of populations caused concern (Roule, 1928, 1935). Early established populations in the northern countries, such as England (Wheeler and Maitland, 1973), Scotland (Lever, 1977) and the low countries, went virtually unnoticed until recently (Copp et al., 2002; van Kleef et al., 2008; Cucherousset et al., 2009). Whereas in southern and central Europe, where L. gibbosus was introduced more widely during the second half of the twentieth century, the species attracted greater and earlier scientific interest due to its invasive character (Copp and Fox, 2007). L. gibbosus is now established in at least 28 countries of Europe and Asia Minor, with a few populations reported for South America (Brazil, Chile), and scientific interest in the species has intensified since the early 1990s (Copp and Fox, 2007).


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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Austria   Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Belarus   Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Belgium USA 1885 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Bosnia-Hercegovina   Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
British Columbia Canada   Yes Froese and Pauly (2009) Introduced from Columbia River
Bulgaria 1920 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Chile   Froese and Pauly (2009)
Congo France   Froese and Pauly (2009)
Croatia   Copp and Fox (2007)
Cuba USA 1929 Yes Froese and Pauly (2009)
Czech Republic Yugoslavia (former) 1929 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Estonia   Froese and Pauly (2009)
France USA 1877 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Georgia   Yes Froese and Pauly (2009)
Germany USA 1881 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Greece   Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Guatemala USA 1960 Yes Froese and Pauly (2009)
Hungary 1900-1924 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Italy USA 1900 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Latvia   Froese and Pauly (2009)
Lithuania   Froese and Pauly (2009)
Macedonia   Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Moldova   Froese and Pauly (2009)
Morocco USA 1955 Yes Froese and Pauly (2009)
Netherlands USA 1903 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Poland 1927 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Portugal 1970-1979 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Romania Western Europe 1920 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Russian Federation   Froese and Pauly (2009)
Serbia   Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Slovakia Yugoslavia (former) 1929 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Slovenia   Yes Froese and Pauly (2009)
Spain USA 1910-1913 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Switzerland   Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Turkey   Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
UK 1800 Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Ukraine   Yes Copp and Fox (2007)
Venezuela   Froese and Pauly (2009)

Risk of Introduction

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The main introduction pathways for L. gibbosus have been varied, including use as an ornamental species in outdoor ponds on private estates (e.g. United Kingdom), sport fishing (e.g. France), or for extensive fish culture for use as forage food for largemouth bass (Iberia and Congo) and more recently as a pet fish, i.e. indoor aquaria (e.g. Norway). Human assistance in the spread of L. gibbosus (e.g. by anglers) appears to be more common in southern Europe than elsewhere, though it is rarely sought after in Europe as an angling amenity in its own right. L. gibbosus has also been reported in the Czech literature to have been imported into the former Czechoslovakia inadvertently with young carp (Tandon, 1976), and similar accidental introductions are believed responsible for the species’ spread amongst water bodies in southern England (Copp et al., 2004).


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In its native range, L. gibbosus occurs and reproduces in both lakes, reservoirs and water courses (Copp and Fox, 2007), though the species is most commonly associated with lacustrine ecosystems. In its introduced range, the species is established almost exclusively in lacustrine ecosystems in northern Europe (Cucherousset et al., 2009), with no reproduction observed so far in English streams (Copp and Fox, 2007). Whereas in southern latitudes, in particular in Iberia, L. gibbosus populations establish easily in regulated rivers and reservoirs (Ferreira et al., 2007; Hermoso et al., 2008), but the species is less successful in natural streams, occurring in low abundance relative to native fish species (Clavero et al., 2004; Mesquita et al., 2006; Almeida et al., 2009a).

Habitat List

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Irrigation channels Principal habitat Natural
Lakes Principal habitat Natural
Reservoirs Principal habitat Natural
Rivers / streams Present, no further details Natural
Ponds Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Haploid/gametic (n) – 24. Diploid/zygotic (2n) – 48-48. L. gibbosus are known to hybridize in nature with the warmouth, and the red breast, green, orange spotted, bluegill, and longear sunfishes. Hybrid sunfishes are often fertile and can recross with other hybrids. The DNA of this species has extensively been sequenced, for example, for DNA bar-coding purposes (Hubert et al., 2008).
Reproductive Biology
Males build the nest on very shallow waters near the shore and attract a female. The pair then swims in a circular path over the nest, and eggs and sperm are released in intervals. The male guards the eggs and the young up to 11 days after hatching, though much shorter periods of care have been reported in Europe (Balon, 1959), then prepares the nest for another spawning with the same or different females. Females produce up to 1000 eggs.
L. gibbosus has been reported to be associated with first reports of non-native monogeneans in Norway (Sterud and Jørgensen, 2006) and England (E Sterud in Copp et al., 2010).
Environmental Requirements
L. gibbosus inhabits ponds, lakes and water courses over a wide latitudinal distribution in its native North American range (Scott and Crossman, 1973), and an equally diverse range of waters throughout its introduced European range (Copp and Fox, 2007), with at least a few introduced populations established in South America (de Magalhães and Ratton, 2005). In Spain, the species have been found to benefit from human disturbances to water courses (Almeida et al., 2009a). However, L. gibbosus populations in northern parts of Europe appear to reproduce in lacustrine environments only (Copp and Fox, 2007; Cucherousset et al., 2009).



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C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Df - Continental climate, wet all year Tolerated Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Tolerated Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Tolerated Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
59 31

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 1
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 2
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 35
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 1

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Salinity (part per thousand) Optimum Low salinity tolerance (Froese and Pauly, 2010)
Water pH (pH) 7.0 7.5 Optimum (Froese and Pauly, 2010)
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 4 22 Optimum (Froese and Pauly, 2010)

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Amia calva Predator All Stages to species
Anguilla anguilla Predator All Stages to species
Anguilla rostrata Predator All Stages to species
Esox lucius Predator All Stages to species
Esox masquinongy Predator All Stages to species
Micropterus dolomieu Predator All Stages to species
Micropterus salmoides Predator All Stages to species
Perca flavescens Predator All Stages to species
Perca fluviatilis Predator All Stages to species
Salmo trutta Predator Fry to species
Sander lucioperca Predator All Stages to species
Sander vitreus Predator All Stages to species
Silurus glanis Predator All Stages to species

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

L. gibbosus is known to disperse via natural drift in water courses (e.g. Copp and Cellot, 1988), from water bodies that discharge into water courses (Stakenas et al., 2008), and to move actively within water courses (Copp et al., 2010).
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
No reports of such transmission are available for L. gibbosus.
Intentional Introduction
L. gibbosus has been stocked into water bodies and water courses for ornamental and for angling purposes (e.g. initially as a sport fish [e.g. Künstler 1908] but later as a forage fish for piscivorous fishes).

Impact Summary

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Cultural/amenity Negative

Economic Impact

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There is no information available regarding the economic impacts of L. gibbosus in its introduced range.

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitat

There is no information available regarding habitat impacts of L. gibbosus in its introduced range other than those based on supposition, though evidence from the Netherlands (van Kleef et al., 2008) may suggest impacts on pond shorelines where spawning activity is most intensive.

Impact on Biodiversity

The impact of L. gibbosus in Europe remains poorly assessed. The species has been reported to prey on fish eggs (García de Jalón et al., 1993; García-Berthou and Moreno-Amich, 2000a) as well as an endemic mollusc subspecies (García-Berthou and Moreno-Amich, 2000a), and it has been said to contribute to the decline of some indigenous fish species (Godinho and Ferreira, 1998). However, the only known study to document impacts of L. gibbosus on biodiversity comes from the Netherlands (van Kleef et al., 2008). A variety of studies on L. gibbosus in a stream system of southern England failed to demonstrate firm evidence of any adverse impact, though a stream reach containing high densities of the species was found to have a lower density and species diversity of riparian spiders, relative to stream reaches with few or no L. gibbosus, with two typical riparian spider species being absent (Copp et al., 2010). Recent work suggests that L. gibbosus is aggressive towards native Iberian species (Almeida et al., 2009b).

Social Impact

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L. gibbosus has long been considered a pest (Künstler, 1908; Roule 1928, 1935), but there is no documented evidence of the species having an adverse effect other than public perception.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
Impact outcomes
  • Altered trophic level
  • Conflict
  • Modification of natural benthic communities
  • Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Predation
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
  • Difficult/costly to control

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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L. gibbosus resembles the bluegill Lepomis macrochirus, which is another member of the Centrarchidae, though much less-widely introduced than L. gibbosus. It can be distinguished in many cases by the presence of a red spot on the operculum flap. This spot is often referred to as being scarlet or crimson, and very rarely is observed to be orange or even more rarely yellow.


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Almeida D; Almodóvar A; Nicola GG; Elvira B, 2009. Feeding tactics and body condition of two introduced populations of pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus: taking advantages of human disturbances? Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 18(1):15-23.

Almeida D; Gomes-Lopes A; Muñoz-López M; Merino-Aquirre R; Miranda R, 2009. [English title not available]. (Ecología de la agresión interespecífica en el pez sol Lepomis gibbosus y efectos sobre la fauna autóctona.) In: Symposium on non-native freshwater species introduction in the Iberian Peninsula, Pamplona, Spain. unpaginated.

Angeler DG; Âlvarez-Cobelas M; Sánchez-Carrillo S; Rodrigo MA, 2002. Assessment of exotic fish impacts on water quality and zooplankton in a degraded semi-arid floodplain wetland. Aquatic Sciences, 64(1):76-86.

Bacescu M, 1962. [English title not available]. (Eupomotis gibbosus (Lin.) Studiu etnozoologic, zoogreografic si morfologic.) Memoriile Sectiunii Stiintifice, III(XVII):547-560.

Balon EK, 1959. Spawning of Lepomis gibbosus (Linne 1758) acclimatised in the back waters of the Danube and its development during the embryonic period. Acta Soc. Zool. Boh, 13:1-22.

Balon EK; Misík V, 1956. The occurrence of unknown or new fish species in Slovakia. (Zoznam nových dokladov o výskyte niektorých málo známnych abo nových druhov rýb na Slovensku.) Biología (Bratislava), 11:189-206.

Banarescu PM, 1964. [English title not available]. (Lepomis gibbosus (Linnaeus) 1758.) In: Fauna Republicii Populare Romîne Pisces-Osteichthyes (Pesti Ganoizi si Osusi). Volume XIII [ed. by Banarescu, P.]., Bucuresti: Editura Academiei Republicii Populare Romîne, 647-651.

Belpaire C; Smolders R; Auweele Ivanden; Ercken D; Breine J; Thuyne Gvan; Ollevier F, 2000. An index of biotic integrity characterizing fish populations and the ecological quality of Flandrian water bodies. Hydrobiologia, 434:17-33.

Bhagat Y; Fox MG; Ferreira MT, 2006. Morphological differentiation in introduced pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus (L.) occupying different habitat zones in Portuguese reservoirs. J. Fish Biol, 69(Supplement):79-94.

Bobori DC; Tsikliras AC; Economidis NI, 2006. Some morphological and biological characteristics of fishes from Tavropos Reservoir (western Greece). Folia Zool, 55:199-210.

Brabrand A; Saltveit SJ, 1989. Ecological aspects of the fish fauna in three Portuguese reservoirs. Arch. Hydrobiol, 114:575-589.

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UK: CEFAS (Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science), Cefas Weymouth Laboratory, Barrack Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB, Weymouth, UK,

Canada: Trent University - TU, Peterborough, Ontario,


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16/02/10 Original text by:

Gordon Copp, CEFAS, Salmon and Freshwater Team, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 0HT, UK

Michael Godard, Consultant, UK

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