• capital spawner;
  • Centrarchidae;
  • income spawner;
  • life history;
  • reproduction


Timing of reproduction is an important life-history trait that varies among species as a function of energy allocation strategy, particularly as individuals are influenced by seasonal variations prior to and during the reproductive season. This study investigated size- and sex-based seasonal patterns of energy allocation in bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus (Rafinesque), a species that spawns repeatedly throughout the summer, by quantifying gonad, liver and mesenteric fat masses. Results indicate that bluegill delay production of gonad tissue until the onset of the spawning season and use an ‘income spawning’ approach. Comparisons of energetic trends with crappies, Pomoxis annularis (Rafinesque) and P. nigromaculatus (Lesueur), a confamilial species of relatively similar size and morphology that spawns in the spring, highlight the flexibility of energy allocation patterns even among relatively similar fishes and shed light on bluegill life-history strategies.