It has a rectangular compressed body that is dark reddish brown on the back and light brown underneath. The scales of the lateral line are pale, and a broad irregular band of dark scales about three rows wide runs along the arc of the lateral line. Below the lateral line are two straight dark bands, each two rows of scales wide, and an incomplete third, lower band, one scale wide. It is distinguished from the similar rock bass by the shape of its tail, which is round in mud sunfish and forked in rock bass. In addition, juvenile mud sunfish have wavy dark lines on their sides, while juvenile rock bass have a checkerboard pattern of square spots. Mud sunfish can grow to a maximum of 61⁄2 inches.
In North America, mud sunfish are common in the Atlantic Coastal Plain and lower Piedmont from the Hudson River in New York to the St. Johns River in Florida, and in the Gulf Coastal Plain of northern Florida and southern Georgia from the Suwanee River to the St. Marks River.
They are usually found on silt or mud in vegetated lakes, ponds and backwaters of streams and small and medium-sized rivers. Adults can often be seen resting upside down in the vegetation.
Life history and Behavior
Food and feeding habits
|Conservation status||Least Concern|
|Life span, years||No information|
|Maximum body weight, kg||No information|
|Maximum length, cm||21|
|Sailing speed, m/s||No information|
|Threat to people||Edible|
|Way of eating||Bentophage|