After one (such as this rank amateur) figured out that scarlet sunfish
refers to Lepomis miniatus, a google search offered up a number of USGA
references and a few 100 other mentions on the Net of that species.
Many of the books we would have available consider it a subspecies of L
punctatus. Page and Burr's Freshwater Fishes has plates showing drawings of
the two L. punctatus subspecies. Smith's The Fishes of Illinois recognized
punctatus miniatus as the Mississippi Valley subspecies as opposed to the
Atlantic Coast subspecies punctatus punctatus. Goldstein however noticed the
proposed taxonomic changes mentioned below and described how the two fishes
are different visually.
http://www.fs.fed.us/oonf/mis/redspotted_sunfish.htm suggests that Lepomis
miniatus, formerly regarded as a subspecies of Lepomis punctatus, the
spotted sunfish and should now be regarded as a full species. They have it
ranging from the Gulf slope of Texas up the lowlands of the Mississippi
valley to southern Illinois.
Google noticed that our own Mark Binkley 3-26-03 found his redspotted
sunfish (L. miniatus) spawning in a mention on the NANFA mailing list.
displays a map where it alllllllmost reaches to Decatur. They mention that
Jordan originally described it in 1877.
(That distribution map differs from the more detailed Fishes of Illinois
http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/cbd/ilspecies/fishmaps/le_miniatu.gif which which
indicates most of them have been lost, pardon me extirpated, from the
The Nature Serve site also notes, "Warren (1992) examined morphological
variation and considered biochemical data (e.g., Bermingham and Avise 1986)
and hypothesized that PUNCTATUS and MINIATUS are separate species and that
upper Coosa system and Lookout Creek (Tennessee drainage) populations are of
uncertain taxonomic status. Etnier and Starnes (1993) tentatively allocated
the problematic populations to L. PUNCTATUS and accepted Warren's
recognition of MINIATUS as a full species."
(Bruce Stallsmith is right, this site rocks.)
Do most American taxonomists and ichthyologists accept this revision? Did
fishermen and ordinary folks perceive the two sunfishes as separate species
before science did?
Thanks and all the best,
Park Forest, IL
"Scarlet Sunfish" and "McKay's Sunfish". Are these real sunfish that are
extinct now or are they missidentified ones?
> > Lance Merry
> > Decatur, IL
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