The Spawning Behavior, Fecundity Rates, And Food Habits Of The Redbreast Sunfish In Southeastern North Carolina

Redbreast sunfish Lepomis auritus (Linnaeus) were found to spawn during June at water temperatures of 71° to 78°F. Redbreast sunfish redds were almost identical in design and size in the Lumber, Waccamaw, and the South Rivers. Each redd was located in or near a sheltered area such as a log, fallen tree, or stump. The preferred bottom substrate for spawning was sand and small gravel. No redds were observed in silt or detritus. Age II, III, IV, V, and VI year redbreast sunfish had mean egg counts of 963, 1,000, 3,563, 5,620, and 8,250, respectively, with corresponding standard deviations of 88.4, 435.9, 763.1, 851.9, and 278.4. The most important food items found in the redbreast sunfish stomachs were aquatic insects, represented by Coleoptera, Odonata, and Ephemeroptera. It appeared that redbreast sunfish were selective and preferred the larger mayfly, dragonfly, and beetle larvae found in the streams. When confined to aquaria, redbreast sunfish preferred live food items such as worms, crickets, grubs, and grasshoppers over artificial foods.

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