Longear Sunfish
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Top view adult.
  • Bottom view adult.
  • Head-on view adult.
  • Close-up flank.
  • Close-up head.
  • Close-up mouth and snout.
  • Close-up tail.
  • Close-up dorsal fin.
  • Close-up anal fin.
  • Close-up pectoral fin.
  • Close-up pelvic fin.
  • The sides are solid to faintly spotted; there are 34-38 lateral line scales, the dorsal fin is solid/dusky.
  • Notice the solid sides, 3 anal spines, and the dusky dorsal fin; the opercular flap not elongated.
  • Close-up gill rakers: There are 9-11 short and thick primary gill rakers on the 1st arch.
  • Notice the elongated opercular flap with the bright red margin of this breeding male.
  • Close-up mouth: Notice that the mouth is small, the opercular flap is dark with a light cream/reddish margin, there are blue lines under the eye.
  • Close-up pectoral fin: Notice the short rounded or bluntnly pointed pectoral fin.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders are similar to non-breeders but are more intense in color and the opercular flap is elongated with a bright edge.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders are similar to non-breeders but are more intense in color and the opercular flap is elongated with a bright edge.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders are similar to non-breeders but are more intense in color and the opercular flap is elongated with a bright edge.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders are similar to non-breeders but are more intense in color and the opercular flap is elongated with a bright edge.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders are similar to non-breeders but are more intense in color and the opercular flap is elongated with a bright edge.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders are similar to non-breeders but are more intense in color and the opercular flap is elongated with a bright edge.
  • Side view of a yearling: Juveniles are similar to adults, but slightly more elongated; the opercular flap is not elongated.
  • Side view of a yearling: Juveniles are similar to adults, but slightly more elongated; the opercular flap is not elongated.
  • Alternative side view.
  • Side view of a green sunfish X longear sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate number of lateral line scales, and the intermediate appearance of the mouth and the pectoral fin.
  • Comparison of the two parental species (green sunfish, top, longear sunfish, bottom) and their hybrid in the middle.
  • Comparison of the two parental species (green sunfish, top, longear sunfish, bottom) and their hybrid in the middle.
  • Close-up head of a green sunfish X longear sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance of the pectoral fin and the mouth.
  • Side view of a green sunfish X longear sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate number of lateral line scales, and the intermediate appearance of the mouth and the pectoral fin.
  • Gill Rakers of a green sunfish X longear sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate length and thickness of the gill rakers.
  • Side view of a green sunfish X longear sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate number of lateral line scales, and the intermediate appearance of the mouth and the pectoral fin.
  • Close-up head of a green sunfish X longear sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance of the pectoral fin and the mouth.
  • Gill Rakers of a green sunfish X longear sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate length and thickness of the gill rakers.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Sunfishes (Centrarchidae)
Body
Mouth and snout: Mouth terminal, moderately large and oblique, with pads of small teeth on the jaws. No barbels. Body patterning, color, and scales: Back bluish brown or olive, sides bluish-olive, belly yellow or orange. Sides either with a more-or-less solid color, faint irregular bluish blotches or mottling, and/or irregular faint light blue or yellowish spots. Sometimes 3-5 bluish lines radiating backward from underneath the eye; opercular flap dark with a light yellow or red margin. Dorsal, caudal, and to a lesser extent anal fins usually darkly pigmented with faint dark blotches or light dark spots; pelvic and pectoral fins lightly pigmented to dusky. 34-38 ctenoid lateral scales. Body shape and size: Body laterally compressed and deep; oval in cross section. Typically 50-125 mm (2-5 in) TL; maximum in Wisconsin about 150 mm (6 in).
Fins
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Slightly forked or round tail. Dorsal fin with 2 lobes, broadly joined by a membrane and appearing as one fin, the first with about 10 spines and the second with 10-11 rays. Pelvic fins thoracic. Adipose fin absent. Anal fin with 3 spines and 9-11 rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
See similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Similar to non-breeders, but with more intense colors (esp. orange belly and red/orange on fins) and elongated opercular flap.
Juveniles
Similar to adults.
Hybrids
All Lepomis species in Wisconsin have the potential to hybridize with each other, and certain combinations are relatively common. Photos available for: green sunfish X longear sunfish.
Compare Similar Species
Lateral Scales
Bass, Rock39-43
Bluegill39-45
Pumpkinseed38-43
Sunfish, Green44-51
Sunfish, Longear34-38
Sunfish, Orangespotted36-41
Warmouth36-40
Opercular Flap Color
Bass, RockSolid dark
BluegillSolid dark
PumpkinseedDark with light spot at tip
Sunfish, GreenDark with light margin
Sunfish, LongearDark with light margin
Sunfish, OrangespottedDark with light margin
WarmouthDark with light margin
Gill Rakers
Bass, Rock7-10, long and thin
Bluegill13-16, moderately long
Pumpkinseed9-12, short and thick
Sunfish, Green11-14, long and thin
Sunfish, Longear9-11, short and thick
Sunfish, Orangespotted10-15, long and thin
Warmouth9-12, moderately long
Pectoral Fin
Bass, RockShort, rounded
BluegillLong, pointed
PumpkinseedLong, pointed
Sunfish, GreenModerately long, rounded
Sunfish, LongearShort, rounded or blunt point
Sunfish, OrangespottedLong, rounded or blunt point
WarmouthModerately long, rounded
Pigment Pattern on Sides and Soft Dorsal Fin
Bass, RockSides brown solid color or with dark mottling or many indistinct spots; fin mottled and/or spotted
BluegillSides dark or silver blue or bluish-olive, solid color or with dark vertical bars, sometimes fine irregular dark blue spots; fin solid, often with large diffuse spot at base
PumpkinseedSides olive or yellow-olive, with many irregular yellow-orange spots or blotches and sometimes faint vertical bars; fin solid or faint spots/mottling
Sunfish, GreenSides yellow or blue-green, with solid color, dark mottling, faint light spots or faint dark bars; fin dusky, spotted or with dark blotch at base
Sunfish, LongearSides dark bluish-olive, with solid color or light irregular spots or blotches/mottling; fin solid or faint spots/mottling
Sunfish, OrangespottedSides blue or gray, with occasional irregular orange spots, faint diffuse vertical bars; fin solid or faint spots/mottling
WarmouthSides yellow-brown or olive with dark mottling, faint spots or faint bars; fin mottled and/or spotted
Other Characteristics
Bass, Rock5-7 anal spines; 9-11 anal rays
BluegillOpercular flap slightly elongated in large adults
PumpkinseedNone
Sunfish, GreenRarely a few teeth on tongue
Sunfish, LongearOpercular flap greatly elongated in adults
Sunfish, OrangespottedOpercular flap often elongated in adults; large sensory pores above lip; 8-9 anal fin rays
WarmouthWell-developed supramaxillary bone; teeth on tongue
Similarity Index
Bass, RockSmall juveniles very similar, adults moderately similar
BluegillSmall juveniles very similar, adults moderately similar
PumpkinseedVery similar
Sunfish, GreenSmall juveniles very similar, adults moderately similar
Sunfish, LongearN/A
Sunfish, OrangespottedVery similar
WarmouthVery similar
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