Pumpkinseed have a narrow body and rarely exceed 20 cm standard length. The joined dorsal fins consist of 10 to 11 spines and 10 to 12 rays. The anal fin has three spines and 10 to 11 rays. The breast and underside of the Pumpkinseed are orange to red-orange, while the back and sides are brown to olive. On some individuals, speckles of orange, yellow, blue and emerald may be found on the sides, back and anal and caudal fins. Pumpkinseed have seven to eight irregular vertical bands on their sides. Radiating back from the snout and over the opercula are several wavy stripes. Often difficult to distinguish from bluegill Lepomis macrochirus, pumpkinseed can be identified by a flap on the posterior end of the operculum that is black with a crimson spot.
Pumpkinseed have pronounced sexual dimorphism. Males tend to be larger and their already prominent colours intensify during breeding. Females are paler but have more distinguished vertical bars. Juveniles of both sexes are green to olive in background colour.
The native range of pumpkinseed is restricted to North America. The species was originally found from New Brunswick down the Atlantic seaboard as far as northeastern Georgia. The species also occurred west of the Appalachian Mountains from southern Quebec to southern Ohio, west to northern Missouri, and north through eastern South Dakota to eastern Manitoba, including western Ontario.
Pumpkinseed typically live in small lakes, ponds, weedy bays of larger lakes, and in the quiet waters of slow-moving streams. They prefer clear water with an abundance of submerged vegetation, but can sometimes be found on rocky shoals.
Pumpkinseed are popular for recreational fishing. In Canada, pumpkinseed are commercially harvested on the St. Lawrence River.
Conservation Status in Ontario
No status found, but many sources say Pumpkinseed is common in the Great Lakes.