What Is the Average Lifespan of a Pumpkinseed Fish?

Pumpkinseed sunfish have markedly tiny mouths.
Pumpkinseed sunfish have markedly tiny mouths. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) are a type of bright freshwater fish. These family Centrarchidae creatures are frequently known by several other names, which include sun perch, p-seed, yellow sunfish, common sunfish and pond perch. Pumpkinseed sunfish often thrive as pets in aquarium environments, although only in roomy tanks.

About Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Pumpkinseed sunfish generally attains lengths of between 5 and 8 inches. In rare instances, they can grow as long as 10 inches. In most cases, they don't even weigh half a pound. Particularly large specimens can get to a full pound, however. The edges of their bodies are brownish-green or yellow and are adorned with numerous tiny gold, orange or brown blots. Their undersides are yellow or orange. Pumpkinseed sunfish inhabit big streams, lakes, rivers and ponds. They tend to avoid waters that are fast, and also tend to appreciate ample weeds. Spawning occurs either at the end of the spring or at the beginning of the summer. Both male and female pumpkinseed sunfish gain reproductive abilities once they're roughly 2 years in age. The species is diurnal. They are near kin to both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Average Lifespan

Pumpkinseed fish that reside out in their natural habitats generally live between 8 and 9 years. In captive environments, pumpkinseed sunfish usually have longer lives, with typical lifespans of around 12 years.

Diet in Nature and Captivity

The diet of pumpkinseed sunfish is an important component in their overall health and longevity. In captivity, pumpkinseed sunfish regularly consume things such as crickets, earthworms, guppies, moths and smelt. Out in nature, they feed heavily on bugs, leeches, zooplankton, larvae, crustaceans, snails, zebra mussels, worms and even members of their same species -- although tinier specimens. As far as insect dining goes, pumpkinseed sunfish enjoy ants. Most eating activities for the species occur in the afternoon.


Predation is a major factor that can affect the lifespans of pumpkinseed sunfish. Although these fish usually tuck themselves away within thick plants, they are still susceptible to predator threats. Some prominent predators of the species are herons, cormorants, human beings and various other fish -- think largemouth bass, American eels, northern pike and walleyes, for instance. Because pumpkinseed sunfish are smallish, fishermen frequently put them back in the water after catching them. Even so, the species is generally appreciated for its pleasant taste.

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