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The pumpkinseed sunfish inhabits all five of the Great Lakes, and can be found throughout Wisconsin as well. However, they are less common in the southwestern region of Wisconsin near La Crosse. This is due to the lack of their ideal habitat conditions.
    The range of this fish is very large, as it can be found throughout the United States and in northeastern Canada (Backe 2009). In fact, in many parts of the United States, primarily in western states and southwestern states that the pumpkinseed is found in, it is considered an exotic, invasive species.
These fish typically live in bays, ponds, or slower-moving bodies of water. The areas of shallow water where the pumpkinseed
 is typically found offer protection, as there is vegetation and plants giving cover for the fish (White 2002). For example, the slow-moving backwaters of the Mississippi River (Holtan 1998). This species of fish has a higher tolerance for low oxygen levels in comparison to similar species of fish such as the bluegill (Backe 2009).