banded sunfish
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Enneacanthus obesus

CHARACTERISTICS: The banded sunfish has 29 to 35 lateral scales. The dorsal fin usually has eight to nine spines and 10 to 13 rays, the anal fin three spines and nine to 12 rays. The caudal peduncle has 19 to 22 rows of scales. Maximum depth is more than half the total length. The body is olive green with five to eight fairly dark vertical bars that do not disappear with age. Small, irregularly placed purple or golden spots occur on the body, fins, and head. The black spot on the ear flap is equal to or only slightly larger than eye diameter. A dark bar extends downward from the eye.

ADULT SIZE: 2 to 3 in (50 to 75 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: The banded sunfish reaches its western range limit at the Perdido River system. We have only two records in Alabama, one of which we collected from Dyas Creek, Baldwin County, in 1994. Additional sampling of swampy habitats could expand the known range of this species.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: When we sampled it, Dyas Creek had dark, tannin-stained water and no flow. The bottom was primarily sand overlaid with silt and detritus. Most of our specimens were collected along the margins in thick aquatic vegetation. Spawning activity has not been observed in nature, but Harrington (1956) notes that spawning can be induced if adults are maintained on 15 hours of daylight and a water temperature of around 71ºF (22.7ºC). Jordan and Evermann (1896) observed that bluespotted and banded sunfishes can coexist, but apparently do not interbreed.

REMARKS: The banded sunfish has a restricted range in Alabama. Individuals will adapt to aquarium life, but they perform best when maintained as a monoculture. Like the bluespotted sunfish, banded sunfish feed on small crustaceans, aquatic insects, and small mollusks.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Girard described the banded sunfish in 1854.

Enneacanthus means nine-spined.
Obesus means fat.

This copyrighted information is from the Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.