Latin name

Lepomis megalotis

Other names



With its stocky body, the longear sunfish is not as shrunken as the bluegill or pumpkinseed, its close relatives. It is one of the most colorful sunfish, especially the mating male, which is dark red on top and bright orange, marbled, and blue-spotted underneath. It usually has red eyes, orange-red middle fins, and a blue-black pelvic fin. There are wavy blue lines on the cheeks and plumage, and the long, flexible, black ear flaps are usually fringed with a light blue, white, or orange line. The fish has short and rounded pectoral fins, which usually do not reach the eyes when curved forward. It has a fairly large mouth, and the upper jaw protrudes below the pupil of each eye.


Similar in range to the green sunfish, the longear sunfish is found in east-central North America, west of the Appalachian Mountains from southern Quebec and western New York to the Mississippi Valley, west through Minnesota and Nebraska and south into Texas and along the Gulf Coast drainages to western Florida.


This species inhabits rocky and sandy waters of headwaters, streams, and small and medium-sized rivers, as well as ponds, bays, lakes, and reservoirs. They are usually found near vegetation and tend to be absent from lower and deeper water.


Longear sunfish can grow to 91⁄2 inches, averaging 3-4 inches and weighing only a few ounces. The world record for any species is a 1 pound 12 ounce fish caught in New Mexico in 1985.

Life history and Behavior

Spawning occurs from late May to mid-August when water temperatures are between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with longfin sunfish at least 1 to 2 years old moving to the gravel bottom. Males build shallow, saucer-shaped nests in 8 inches to 2 feet of water and guard the eggs until they hatch about a week after they are laid. Many nests are usually close together.

Food and feeding habits

Longear sunfish feed primarily on aquatic insects, as well as worms, crayfish, and fish roe from the bottom.


No information

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Perciformes
Family Centrarchidae
Genus Lepomis
Species L. megalotis
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Bottom
Life span, years 6
Maximum body weight, kg 0.79
Maximum length, cm 24
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Bentophage

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Sunfish, Longear

Tags: Sunfish, Longear