Latin name

Lepomis microlophus

Other names

Shellcracker, stumpknocker, yellow bream, bream.


Pale golden-green on top, the redear sunfish has a rounded shape and is compressed at the sides. Adults have dusky gray spots on their flanks, while juveniles have stripes. The belly is white to yellow, the fins are mostly translucent, while the breeding male is coppery gold with dusky pelvic fins. The redear sunfish has a rather pointed snout and a small mouth with blunt milk teeth that allow it to split shells. It has joined dorsal fins and long, pointed pectoral fins that extend well beyond the eyes when tilted forward. The auricles are short and black, with a bright red or orange spot or light edge.


Native to North America, redear sunfish occur roughly from the Savannah River in South Carolina to the Nueces River in Texas, north of the Mississippi River basin to southern Indiana and Illinois, with some populations in the western states. They have been introduced into waters in Africa and Latin America.


Redear sunfish live in ponds, marshes, lakes, and vegetated waters of small and medium-sized rivers. It prefers warm, clear and calm waters.


Redear sunfish can reach large sizes, although they average less than half a pound and measure about 9 inches. The world record for any tackle is a 5-pound, 7-ounce fish caught in South Carolina in 1998. They can live up to eight years.

Life history and Behavior

Some redear sunfish are capable of spawning when they are only 5 inches long and 1 year old, although most do so at 2 years of age or older. Spawning occurs when the water reaches 70°F and lasts until early fall. Males build and guard shallow circular nests, often in colonies near vegetation at depths of 2 to 8 feet.

Food and feeding habits

An opportunistic bottom-feeder, the Redear Sunfish feeds primarily on aquatic snails during the day, giving it its common name of Shellfish. These fish also feed on mosquito larvae, amphipods, mayfly and dragonfly nymphs, mollusks, fish eggs, and crayfish.


No information

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Perciformes
Family Centrarchidae
Genus Lepomis
Species L. microlophus
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Bottom
Life span, years 8
Maximum body weight, kg 2.61
Maximum length, cm 43.2
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Bentophage

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Sunfish, Redear

Tags: Sunfish, Redear