Lepomis gibbosus | Pumpkinseed | Iasc síl puimcín

Pre 2017

2017 - 2020


Legal status

Regulated Invasive Alien Species  of Union concern under the European Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species [1143/2014].

Native status


First reported in the wild

Not found in Ireland or Northern Ireland


Invasive species - risk of Medium Impact

Irish status


Introduction pathways - 1

Escape from Confinement

Introduction pathways subclass - 1

Other escape from confinement

Introduction pathways - 2

Release in Nature

Introduction pathways subclass - 2

Release in nature for use

NAPRA Ireland risk assessed


Species Biology


Lepomis gibbosus is a species of freshwater bony fish that belongs to the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) (Encyclopedia of Life, 2021). Growing up to 40 cm in length and weighing as much as 450 grams, Lepomis gibbosus expresses a deep-bodied, and laterally compressed body (Invasive Species Ireland, 2021).

When observing this species from the side, it’s body is oval shaped and ls laterally compressed (CABI, 2021). This colourful species has orange green, yellow or blue speckles overlaying an olive back with yellow sides and a yellow-orange body and breast (CABI, 2021g; Invasive Species Ireland, 2021d). Lepomis gibbosus has sharp spines on its dorsal and anal fins, a trait shared amongst all members of family Centrarchidae (CABI, 2021; Invasive Species Ireland, 2021).


Lepomis gibbosus are carnivorous, feeding on molluscs, amphibians, fish and even dragonflies (Ministry of Agriculture Fish Food and the Environment of Spain, 2018).



Biodiversity - Lepomis gibbosus may threaten the survival of native fish species as it will compete with them for resources such as food as well as predating on the eggs and juvenile individuals of some species (Ministry of Agriculture Fish Food and the Environment of Spain, 2018). Additionally, Lepomis gibbosus may result in decreased population densities of other species such as amphibians, gastropods and dragonflies (Ministry of Agriculture Fish Food and the Environment of Spain, 2018). If Lepomis gibbosus was to become established in Ireland, local and widespread declines in various native fauna may occur.
Lepomis gibbosus was found to be directly responsible for the extinction of white-clawed crayfish in France (Ministry of Agriculture Fish Food and the Environment of Spain, 2018). This is a worrying prospect for Ireland as a similar fate may await our native crayfish species if Lepomis gibbosus was to become established here.

Socio-economic - There is not enough research done on the potential magnitude of economic loss by this species as well as the economic cost of this species in Europe. With this said, it cannot be assumed that this lack of data means that Lepomis gibbosus does not have any influence from a socio-economic standpoint (Ministry of Agriculture Fish Food and the Environment of Spain, 2018).


Lepomis gibbosus can be found in lakes, reservoirs, ponds, canals, backwaters, estuaries and rivers/streams (CABI, 2021g; Invasive Species Ireland, n.d.).


The male of this species will build a nest in shallow waters near the shore and attract a female (CABI, 2021). After mating, the male will guard the eggs and young for up to 11 days post hatching (CABI, 2021). The female can produce up to 1000 eggs, which may aid this species in establishing itself in a new habitat with less issue (CABI, 2021).

Mechanism of impact

Competition, Predation

Management approach

As Lepomis gibbosus is listed as an Invasive Alien Species of Union concern under the EU Regulations of Invasive Alien Species, it cannot be imported, traded, or released to the wild. Measures must also be taken to prevent spread of existing populations of it (European Commission, 2017).

The most effective management approach relating to this species is to prevent its establishment in the first place. This can be done through bans on selling and transport of this species in to Ireland, carefully monitoring potential pathways for introduction and immediate removal of any individuals that are recorded (Invasive Species Ireland, 2021). Additionally, public awareness can be a powerful tool as records through Biodiversity Ireland’s Citizen Science portal will make it much easier to quickly locate and subsequently eradicate any individuals before they have the chance to become established in Irish waters.

Species group


Native region

North America

Similar species

Native species such as Roach, Rudd, Bream and Perch may be initially confused with Lepomis gibbosus due to similarities in size but the distinctive colouration of this invasive species should allow the observer to tell it from native species with little difficulty (Invasive Species Ireland, n.d.).


World distribution(GBIF)

In addition to its native range of Eastern North America, Lepomis gibbosus has been introduced to Turkey, Congo, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Cuba, Guatemala and Canada (Ministry of Agriculture Fish Food and the Environment of Spain, 2018).

Irish distribution


Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2023

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.

How can you help

Report any sightings of this species to the National Biodiversity Data Centre, including a photograph, if possible.

If you own one, do not allow it to reproduce or enter the natural environment, it is illegal to do so.

Avoid purchasing this species for any purpose.



CABI, 2021. Lepomis gibbosus (pumpkinseed). [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 Jul. 2021].

Encyclopedia of Life, 2021. Pumpkinseed - Lepomis gibbosus. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 Jul. 2021].

European Commission, 2017. Invasive Alien Species of Union concern. [online] Luxembourg. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Jun. 2021].

Invasive Species Ireland, 2021. Lepomis gibbosus. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 Jul. 2021].

Invasive Species Ireland, n.d. Pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 Jul. 2021].

Ministry of Agriculture Fish Food and the Environment of Spain, 2018. EU NON-NATIVE ORGANISM RISK ASSESSMENT SCHEME Lepomis gibbosus. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 6 Jul. 2021].