Cranial osteology of the redear sunfish: examples from the American Midwest

Mona L. Colburn

Illinois State Museum, Research and Collections Center, Springfield, Illinois 62703, U.S.A.

Cite this as: Colburn, M. L. 1997 Cranial osteology of the redear sunfish: examples from the American Midwest, Internet Archaeology 3.


Cranial elements of modern redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus) were examined for characteristics that distinguish it from other species of sunfish (Lepomis spp.). Distinctive elements include the lower and upper pharyngeal arches, the parasphenoid, the basioccipital, and the prootics. These elements were used to identify archaeological specimens from the fill of an Emergent Mississippian pit house at the Range site in St Clair County, Illinois, as remains of redear. The finding of this species in an archaeological assemblage appears to be of some significance because the native distribution of the redear lies south of the Range site location and because some sources state that the redear was introduced to Illinois in the 1900s.

An extended version of the paper was published as the following: Mona L. Colburn, Lucretia Kelly and Julianne Snider, 1991 "Redear Sunfish in the Late Holocene of Illinois" in James R. Purdue, Walter E. Klippel and Bonnie W. Styles (eds). Beamers, Bobwhites, and Blue-Points: Tributes to the Career of Paul W. Parmalee. Illinois State Museum Scientific Papers, Vol.23, Springfield, and The University of Tennessee, Department of Anthropology Report of Investigations, No. 52, Knoxville.

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