Animal Encounters

Fun Animal Encounters

From a hairy tarantula to a talking African gray parrot, you never know what you’ll bump into in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari at the Tennessee Aquarium!

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Animal Keeper

Animal Keeper Updates

Get a peek behind the scenes of the Aquarium’s Husbandry department. Read their weekly animal updates and get an insider’s look at caring for over 10,000 animals and plants.

ANIMAL UPDATES
FISHES

Banded Sunfish

Enneacanthus obesus

ON EXHIBIT:  Discovery Hall in River Journey

Bluespotted Sunfish

FUN FACTS
Banded sunfish are in the family Centrachidae, which also includes many gamefish such as bass, bluegill and crappie.  Banded sunfish never attain the size of these much sought after fishes, but they do perform an important job of keeping mosquito and other insect populations in check by feeding voraciously on their larvae.

They prefer swampy habitats with slow-moving water and lots of decomposing vegetation to hide in. Banded sunfish build circular nests in the substrate and males guard the eggs.  Parents will care for young sunfish until they are large enough to go out on their own.

Closely related to bluegill, banded sunfish are very colorful, especially when in breeding colors. Anglers often refer to them as speckled perch. These reclusive fish are often sought by aquarium hobbyists because they stay small and are relatively peaceful compared to their larger cousins, but because of the muddy swamp habitats they prefer they are often difficult to collect.

The Tennessee Aquarium has recently set up an area for breeding sunfish as well as other native southeastern fishes.  

CONSERVATION
Native fishes are affected by runoff from agriculture and roadways.  To reduce the chances of contaminants entering their habitat, always recycle your oil and leave stream banks planted to reduce erosion.

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SUNFISH WALLPAPER

Sunfish

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About This Animal

SIZE: 3 inches

RANGE: Eastern United States from New York to Florida

HABITAT: Vegetated lakes, ponds, pools and backwaters of creeks and small rivers.

DIET: Small insects and crustaceans. 


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