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Pygmy sunfish..................from the baylor site
Banded Pygmy Sunfish
Banded Pygmy Sunfish - Elassoma zonatum Jordan
The Banded Pygmy Sunfish is a small dark colored fish with purple to black
vertical bands and yellow flecks throughout. Easily discernible from the other
sunfishes, this fish has only four to five spines on the dorsal fin, 10 dorsal
rays, and completely lacks a lateral line. The scales in the lateral series
number between 38 to 45. The Banded Pygmy Sunfish has cycloid scales, five
anal rays, three anal spines, and a completely joined spinous-soft dorsal fin.
Robison and Buchanan (1992) report the maximum size of this species at 25-40
mm (1-1.5 in). Pflieger (1975) and Lee et al. (1980) report the same size
range. Knopf (1983) reports a size range up to 50 mm (2 in), while Page and
Burr (1991) report it at 47 mm (1.75 in). In the present study, five
individuals exceeding 50 mm were collected from bank vegetation in Piney
Creek. The largest specimen collected measured 68 mm (just under 2.75 in).
This is the largest Banded Pygmy Sunfish ever collected in the State of Texas,
according to the literature. Also, no references to individuals this large
were found in the national literature.
This fish is usually found in quiet, clear, heavily vegetated streams. It is
solitary species which feeds by sight on small crustaceans, insects, and
molluscs (Walsh and Burr 1984). This species spawns in Louisiana and Kentucky
between March and May (Robison and Buchanan, 1992), but no nests are made
during spawning periods. Males will guard their territory and mate with one to
several females over submerged vegetation. The eggs are demersal and adhesive,
and develop on the submerged vegetation. Males will guard the developing eggs
for 2-3 days. The life expectancy of this species, in Louisiana, is about
three years. Hubbs et al. (1991) stated that this species inhabits eastern
Texas from the Red River south to the Brazos River Basin.