Sunfish ID and Species List

I wanted to put together a total list of fish species I’ve caught, just to try and keep a running tab. Hopefully it will continue to grow as I fish more new waters. I think I get just as excited catching new species as I do catching truly big fish. I’m not on any kind of mission to catch a certain number of species, I just think it will be interesting to maintain and revisit the list from time to time. It should also help to serve as a place to ID a fish that you’ve caught, but have no idea what it is. Of course, I’m not a biologist, so take what I post with a grain of salt, most of my knowledge comes from experience, and the internet. Also, be sure to check out Lance Coley’s article posted on Riverbassin last year called “What the Heck Kinda Bass is That?”. It takes a look at each bass species, even breaking it down to subspecies, complete with pictures from Lance himself (with 1-2 exceptions). I don’t plan to go into the detail that Lance did, but I’ve got to start somewhere. In time I will add other freshwater fish from different families, then move on to saltwater, but for now here are the sunfishes.  Update, May 2016: Lance has published an update to his 2011 article on Southern River Fishing, check it out: “What the Heck Kinda Bass is That?”. I’ll leave both links up in case something happens to either site.

Warning to some though, things are about to get nerdy. I’ll separate each species according to it’s taxonomy. Today I’ll start in freshwater with the sunfishes, family Centrarchidae, which has 8 genera, and 28 species native to North America. So far I’ve caught 16 of them. It helps to live in the Southeastern U.S. if you want to catch a variety of sunfish.

I’ll put up a picture and a distribution map of those that I’ve caught. Click the map for more information about that particular species. The distribution maps come from NatureServe Explorer. A pretty good resource for finding information on plants and animals. Another good resource is the Angler’s Life List & Native Fish Network. They have a fish page that illustrates the native ranges of the basses in Google Maps.

Ambloplites ariommus – Shadow bass


Ambloplites rupestris – Rock bass


Lepomis auritus – Redbreast sunfish


Lepomis cyanellus – Green sunfish


Lepomis gulosis – Warmouth


Lepomis macrochirus – Bluegill


Lepomis megalotis – Longear sunfish


Lepomis microlophus – Redear sunfish


Lepomis miniatus – Redspotted sunfish


Micropterus treculii – Guadalupe bass



Micropterus warriorensis – Redeye bass – Warrior drainage


Micropterus dolomieu – Smallmouth bass


Micropterus hensalli – Alabama bass


No range map given from NatureServe. They are only native to rivers that flow into Mobile Bay.

Micropterus haiaka – Choctaw bass



The newest member of the black bass family as discovered by biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Their range falls in between the Alabama bass and the Shoal bass in Gulf draining streams on the Florida panhandle and in Alabama.

Micropterus punctulatus – Spotted bass (Kentucky)


Micropterus salmoides – Northern largemouth bass


Pomoxis annularis – White crappie


Pomoxis nigromaculatus – Black crappie





  1. blufloyd said:

    This is very cool. I am addicted on the first view.


  2. gene bethea said:

    I am in complete agreement with blu; great start on a fun undertaking; will continue to follow


  3. cajunInExile said:

    so a sacalait is a black crappie?


    • Sacalait can refer to either black or white crappie.


  4. Although it doesn’t show it on the map on your site, redbreast sunfish are common in many areas of Texas.


    • Take it up with NatureServe Cliff – my guess is they are showing just the native range


  5. It is a very nice post. I was not knowing about some of the fishes. I am going to buy a 75 gallons aquarium soon.


  6. Very informative, thanks!


  7. So I live in NH and I know we have more then 1 species of perch/sunfish/ bass so I am curious as to why NH only shows 1 type of fish in are region?


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