In Canada, Lepomis auritus (Redbreast Sunfish) is only found in southwestern New Brunswick, which is the northern limit for the species. In 1989, The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) listed it as a species of special concern due to its limited distribution, and changed the status to data deficient in 2008. The purpose of our study is to begin to build a database of ecological information for the Redbreast Sunfish in New Brunswick. The most northern population occurs in Yoho Lake. Population estimates averaged 386 from 2005 to 2007. The average total length and weight were 12.5 ± 3.1 cm and 42.6 ± 27.3 g, respectively. The length-frequency distributions were consistent over the years, suggesting a stable population structure. Most adult and juvenile sunfish were observed in areas of dense vegetation and large woody debris. Snorkeling surveys were conducted from late June to early July 2005–2007 to assess timing and habitat preference of spawning Redbreast Sunfish. The nests averaged 52.4 ± 10.1 cm in diameter and were 43.9 ± 12.2 cm deep. Nest substrate was sandy with small gravel, and only 33% of the nests were associated with a physical structure in the water column. Overall, the population of Redbreast Sunfish in Yoho Lake appears to be healthy and stable.
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Vol. 19 • No. 4