Banded pygmy sunfish

Elassoma zonatum

The banded pygmy sunfish, ''Elassoma zonatum'', is a species of pygmy sunfish endemic to the United States, where it is found from Indiana and Illinois to Texas to the Atlantic coast. It prefers densely vegetated bodies of slow-moving water. This species can reach 4.7 cm in total length, though most do not exceed 3.5 cm .

The banded pygmy sunfish are capable of retaining their juvenile characteristics while they are sexually mature; that is to say that they are neotenous.

It was originally thought that the banded pygmy sunfish belonged to the cichlid family. But, researchers Hay, Jordan, and Gilbert thought that the banded pygmy sunfish was actually an intermediate species of fish between the pirate perch and the centrarchid family of fishes. Therefore, the banded pygmy fish was placed into its own Family: Elassomatidae.