Spring Pygmy Sunfish
Elassoma alabamae
About This Fish

This federally threatened species was historically known from three sites in the middle Tennessee River Drainage, but is now restricted to a single spring-fed creek system. As the common name implies, Spring Pygmy Sunfish require cool groundwater and have a maximum size of just over one inch. They have a lifespan of only one year and are vulnerable to random changes in the environment.


Sandel, M., F.C. Rohde, and P.M. Harris. 2014. Interspecific relationships and the evolution of sexual dimorphism in pygmy sunfishes (Centrarchidae: Elassoma). Molecular phylogenetics and evolution. 77:166-176. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1055790314001468

Sandel, M. 2012. Evolutionary relationships and historical biogeography of pygmy sunfishes (Percomorphacea: Elassoma). The University of Alabama. https://search.proquest.com/openview/bde98bb068ef515f84db72ed4b1b5af6/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

Sandel, M. 2011. Evolutionary relationships, phylogeography, and conservation genetics of Elassomatidae. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. https://search.proquest.com/openview/bde98bb068ef515f84db72ed4b1b5af6/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

Conway, K.W., and R.L. Mayden. 2006. Threatened fishes of the world: Elassoma alabamae Mayden, 1993 (Elassomatidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes. 75(2):195-196. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10641-005-0004-y?LI=true

Quattro, J.M., W.J. Jones, J.M. Grady, and F.C. Rohde. 2001. Gene–Gene Concordance and the Phylogenetic Relationships among Rare and Widespread Pygmy Sunfishes (Genus Elassoma). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 18(2):217-226. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1055790300908844

Quattro, J. M., W.J. Jones, and F.C. Rohde. 2001. Evolutionarily significant units of rare pygmy sunfishes (Genus Elassoma). Copeia. 2001(2):514-520. https://www.asihcopeiaonline.org/doi/abs/10.1643/0045-8511(2001)001[0514:ESUORP]2.0.CO;2

Jones, W.J., and J.M. Quattro. 1999. Phylogenetic affinities of pygmy sunfishes (Elassoma) inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences. Copeia. 470-474. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1447493?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents