Virginia

to


Florida,


west

to


Texas


and
northern

Mexico,


and

north


from

western
Minnesota
to


western


New


York.


Today


they
have
been


transported

most


everywhere

else
in

North


America,


and

have

also


been
introduced
into

Europe,


South

Africa,


Asia,
South
America,


and

Oceania.


Bluegills


have
also

been


found


in


the


Chesapeake

Bay,
indicating

they


can

tolerate


up

to


1.8%
salinity.

In


some


locations


where


they


have
been

transplanted,


they


are


considered
pests:

trade


in


the


species


is


prohibited


in
Germany
and

Japan.
Physical
description


-


The


bluegill


is


noted
for

the


dark


spot


that


it

has

on

the


posterior


part


of


its

dorsal


fin.


The


sides


of


its

head


and

chin


are


a

dark
shade

of


blue.


It

usually

contains


5-

9

vertical


bars


on

the


sides


of


its

body,


but


these


stripes


are


not


always
distinct.

It

has

a

yellowish

breast


and

abdomen,


with


the


breast


of


the


breeding


male

being


a

bright


orange.
The

bluegill


has

three


anal


spines,


ten


to


12

anal


fin

rays,


six


to


13

dorsal


fin

spines,


11

to


12

dorsal


rays,


and
12
to


13

pectoral

rays.


They


are


characterized


by

their


deep,


flattened,

laterally


compressed


bodies.


They
have
a

terminal

mouth,

ctenoid


scales,


and

a

lateral


line

that


is


arched

upward


anteriorly.


The


bluegill


typically
ranges
in


size


from

four


to


12

inches,


and

reaches

a

maximum


size


just

over


16

inches.


The


largest


bluegill
ever

caught


was


four


pounds,

12

ounces


in


1950.
Habitat

-


Bluegill


live


in


the


shallow


waters


of


many


lakes


and

ponds,


along


with


slow

-

moving


areas


of
streams
and

small


rivers.


They


prefer

water


with


many


aquatic


plants,


and

hide


within

fallen


logs


or


water
weeds.

They


can

often


be

found


around

weed


beds,


where


they


search


for


food


or


spawn.
Bluegill

tend


to


be

absent


in


northern


Minnesota

lakes,


as

the


water


gets


too


cold.


In


the


summer,


adults

move
to

deeper

water


to


avoid


food


competition.


Bluegill


try

to


spend


most


of


their


time


in


water


from

60°


to


80°F,
and
tend


to


have

a

home


range

of


about


320sq.


ft.


during


non-

reproductive


months.

They


enjoy


heat,


but


do
not

like


direct


sunlight


-


they


typically

live


in


deeper

water,


but


will


linger


near


the


water


surface


in


the


morning
to

stay


warm.


Bluegill


are


usually

found


in


schools


of


10

to


20

fish,


and

these


schools


will


often


include

other