Northern Sunfish Great Lakes - Upper St. Lawrence populations
Scientific Name: Lepomis peltastes
Other/Previous Names: Northern Sunfish (Great Lakes - Western St. Lawrence populations)
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
Range: Ontario, Quebec
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 2016
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
Northern Sunfish is a small (length usually less than 13 cm), but otherwise typical, sunfish (Centrarchidae) with a deep, laterally compressed body. It has an upwardly angled opercular flap with a red/orange posterior margin. Breeding males are very colourful, having a reddish breast and bright blue wavy lines radiating posteriorly from the eye and opercle, often into the breast. Adult males retain juvenile characteristics including dark vertical bands and spotting on the dorsal and anal fins. A Northern Sunfish produces grunting sounds when courting. This can be an indicator of habitat quality because of its low tolerance of siltation and turbidity.
This is a small-bodied member of the sunfish family that inhabits shallow vegetated areas of warm lakes, ponds, and slow-flowing rivers. Its spatial distribution is relatively small and likely patchy. It is suspected that the index of area of occupancy and abundance of the species has declined. Threats are variable across its range with some areas of declining habitat quality and other areas with improving habitat quality. Overall, the threats of siltation, contaminants, and invasive species were assessed as high. The species is likely to become Threatened unless these threats are effectively ameliorated.
Over the past year COSEWIC re-examined the status of 25 wildlife species; of these, the majority (68%) were re-assessed at the same or lower level of risk. Of a total of 45 species assessed, seven were assigned a status of Not at Risk (two re-assessments and five new assessments). To date, and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 724 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 320 Endangered, 172 Threatened, 209 Special Concern, and 23 Extirpated (i.e., no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition, 15 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct, 54 wildlife species have been designated as Data Deficient, and 177 have been assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.
Information summary and survey for the consultations on the listing of Northern Sunfish (Great Lakes – Upper St. Lawrence populations) on the List of Wildlife Species at Risk as Special Concern – Please provide input by July 25, 2017