Animals -> Fish -> Freshwater Fish -> Sunfish


Pumpkinseed sunfish were consumed by the Rappahannock from the Virginia area [1] and the Chippewa [2]. If dried, sunfish were cut lengthwise and placed on a rack. For the winter, sunfish were frozen without cleaning:  they were split down the back and laid flat in the bottom of a barrel, while others would string the fish in groups of ten. The skin was peeled when cooking the fish [2].

Bluegills were reported to have been eaten by the Rappahannock [1].


1.         Speck FG, Hassrick RB, Carpenter ES: Rappahannock Taking Devices: Traps, Hunting and Fishing. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Anthropological Society; 1946.

2.         Densmore F: Food. In: Chippewa Customs. edn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press; 1979: 39-43.

Sunfish represent a large family of freshwater fish that is related to the freshwater drum family and the perch and darters family. In North America, sunfish include species of bass, but also the pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) and the bluegill (L. macrochirus). Sunfish are found only in southern Canada, from Quebec to Manitoba, but pumpkinseed sunfish were introduced in the western parts of Canada. Both species have a long dorsal fin that is spiny-rayed in the front and soft-rayed in the back, grow to around 25 cm, and have complex colour patterns. The French common name for sunfish is crapet.


Wooding FH: Lake, river and sea-run fishes of Canada. Madeira Park, BC, Canada: Harbour Publishing; 1997.


Images provided below were obtained from: Encyclopedia of Life. Available from
Pumpkinseed sunfish
Supplier: Wikimedia Commons
Photographer: Raver, Duane
This map is based on occurrence records available through the GBIF network
© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Supplier: National Museum of Natural History Collections
This map is based on occurrence records available through the GBIF network