Hybrid Sunfish

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pmk00001's picture
Hybrid Sunfish
<p>I&#39;m pretty sure these are hybrids, and I&#39;ve got my ideas about what crosses they are but would like to hear from ya&#39;ll.&nbsp; All from the Potomac Drainage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fish 1:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Det2vuAlk_c/UNWbwgvvRNI/AAAAAAAAWHA/G01nmAorUmM/s409/IMG_20120521_174230.jpg" style="width: 307px; height: 409px;" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fish 2:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-o4M27hjNkA0/UNWgrUP8ccI/AAAAAAAAWHM/AKctaCJEJ8Y/s545/IMG_20121122_141855.jpg" style="width: 545px; height: 409px;" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fish 3:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-xGjMRbtuSuU/SuTxMyG1EoI/AAAAAAAAIX4/K5O6kGDDgZw/s584/IMG_9603.JPG" style="width: 584px; height: 390px;" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>What do you think?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Anybody else got any?</p>
Jknuth's picture
#1 Pumpkinseed X green 

#1 Pumpkinseed X green 

#2 Bluegill X Green   (hard to tell for sure without looking at the pelvics.)

#3 Bluegill X Redbreast

those be my guesses


Conecuh's picture
I'll go with Jknuth's guesses

I'll go with Jknuth's guesses on #1 and #3, but I think #2 is a Pumpkinseed X Bluegill.


Here's a suspected Redbreast X Bluegill caught in the Yellow River drainage in south-central AL.


And here's a suspected Longear (swampland) X Spotted, caught on the same day.

Jknuth's picture
Woa those are cool! 

Woa those are cool! 

It could very well be a pumpkinseed x bluegill.  The pectoral looks pointed and there is no light margins on the fins. Normally the pelvics seal the dealw itht eh lighter color and size.

Here is a suspected Redbreast X Pumpkinseed from New York


Jknuth's picture
Here are a few other cool

Here are a few other cool ones. 

Pumpkinseed X Bluegill 
This guy was about 11" long and amazing color. 

And a Bluegill X Warmouth
I was unsure about this one until I spoke with the biologist who is doign work on the stream. He said they are the most common hybrid in the area I was in. I emailed him the photo and he confirmed it.

Both fish are sadly not in thier prime at the time of the photo. 

pmk00001's picture
Cool hybrids

I'm with you on the ID's, and agree that my fish number two is most likely at Bluegill/Pumpkinseed cross.  That spotted/longear is really neat.


I've been cleaning out my photos this week and came across a few more.


Fish 1 -



Fish 2



Fish 3 -



What do ya'll think?

Conecuh's picture
What about a Hybrid Sunfish

What about a Hybrid Sunfish page? Wouldn't be a lifelist entry, but just a page in the sunfish section showing all the different crazy crosses you might run across.


My guesses on the second installment of pmk's Guess This Hybrid!

#1 Green sunfish X Warmouth , or maybe Green Sunfish X Flier

#2 Redbreast X Bluegill

#3 Redbreast X Pumpkinseed


Jknuth, that must have been a "What the...?" moment when that monster pumpkinseed gill came out of the water.

Conecuh's picture
Just looked up flier. Not a

Just looked up flier. Not a Lepomis species. Closer related to rock bass or crappie, apparently. So, as cool as it would have been, fliers probably cannot cross with green sunfish.

Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
More funked up skunnies. 

More funked up skunnies.  Need some thoughts on these as well.

Southern Missouri fish here.  Greens and Longear abundant at this spot.  Pure Longear or combo of the two?

Next we have a fish caught in a mississippi river backwaters in Missouri.  Pure green sunfish or warmouth or all mixed up?  Others present would be warmouth and orangespots.

This is a weird one from florida.  Looks warmouthish to me.  Other species present were dollar and spotted sunfish.  Should be no greens found here:

And lastly, we have a possilble orangespot hybrid of some type.  There are abundant orangespots found here.  What do we think this fish is crossed with?  Not many pumpkinseeds found here.  Mostly bluegill and green sunfish.

I wish I could find this really weird warmouth/bluegill hybrid I caught years ago.  Had the perfect colors and shape of a warmouth, but a little teenie mouth like a bluegill.  Twas a sweet looking fish...




Jknuth's picture
I am almost positive your

I am almost positive your Longear at the top is a pure Northern Sunfish / Northern Longear. I have caught a few larger specimans from a few lakes near me and at times they have that barring. 

Conecuh's picture
Pure guessing and speculation

Pure guessing and speculation:


Dr Flathead's

#1 Pure Longear?

#2 Green X Warmouth

#3 Warmouth X Spotted

#4 Warmouth X Orangespotted?



#1 Green X Bluegill

#2 Pure pumpkinseed? Or a 1/4 green sunfish. Hard to tell from the angle of the picture.

#3 Warmouth X Pumpkinseed?

#4 3/4 Green sunfish, 1/4 something else, maybe longear?


With hybrid sunfish, many times you just have to accept the uncertainty(They need to get cracking on a DNA sampling smartphone app). But they sure are cool looking.


The folks at NANFA might have better ideas. I think there's some that actually breed hybrid sunfish.


pmk00001's picture
More WAG's



fish 1 -  I think it's a Green/Redear cross, it's kind of got that streamlined redear look to it.

fish 2 Redbreast/Bluegill

fish 3 Redbreast/Pumpkinseed


Doc Flatheads


fish 1 -  straight Longear

fish 2 -  Green/Warmouth

fish 3 -  Warmouth

fish 4 -  Green/OSS



fish 1 -  green/Bluegill

fish 2 -  Pumpkinseed

fish 3 -  Warmouth/Pumpkinseed

fish 4 -  Longear/Green



Muskymags's picture
It would be cool if we could

It would be cool if we could come up with a solid Sunny Hybrid chart.  Ya know, since they interbreed so often it would be cool to be able to accurately identify these hybrids based on their characteristics.  Even the different colorations of pure species can be different. 


This is one of the coolest looking Sunnies I've ever caught and I'm pretty sure its a pure Bluegill, but I've never caught Gills with this coloration before and the steel blue coloration was amazing, probably the prettiest Gill I've ever caught!

Gunnar's picture
a few I was told were hybrids

Looking through my millions of photos, I see a lot of non-standard sunfish that I guess could be hybrids, but I've always just assumed they were variations.

Here are 4 that people told me were hybrids, though I don't know if it's true:

1. Used as green sunfish in the 2010 contest and someone posted that it was a hybrid green x something.


2.  I think I might have called this one a green sunfish in the 2008 contest, and no one called me on it.


3. My 2009 contest green sunfish. Pure? The pond it's from has redears, bluegills and greens, but (as far as I and the county know) no pumpkinseeds.


4. I called this a redear sunfish in the 2011 contest, I think, and its pond only has bluegills, greens and redears. Can't remember who said it was a hybrid.


Ben--almost every green sunfish in my computer has red on the flap (or orange). Sometimes just a bit, sometimes a lot.


Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com

2020: 10 days fishing 11 species 0 lifers. 2019: 34/45/13 2018: 39/40/5

Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture


I would say the first two are bluegill/Green Sunfish hybrids.  The third looks to be pretty much a pure Green.  Might have some other influence, but not much.  The Redear is a purebred for sure.

Conecuh's picture
After reviewing the photos, I

After reviewing the photos, I'd have to say pmk's guesses are probably better than mine. Doc Flathead's #4 definitely has some green in it. And the little warmouth could easily be pure-strain.


Some hybrids are fertile and will breed back into one of the parent's population. By the 2nd or 3rd generation, I imagine it would produce a specimen that would just look a little off.


Muskymags, that's probably a sea-run Steelgill.