Green 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.
  • Notice the spotted sides with solid color and/or light spots. There are 44-51 lateral line scales, and a solid/dusky dorsal fin.
  • Notice the spotted sides with solid color and/or light spots, the 3 anal spines, and the dusky/blotched dorsal fin.
  • Close-up view of inside of mouth: Notice that there are rarely a few teeth on the tongue, mainly in larger individuals.
  • Close-up of head: Notice the large mouth and the dark opercular flap with light cream/yellow margin.
  • Close-up pectoral fin: Notice the moderately long and rounded pectoral fin.
  • Close-up of gill rakers: There are 9-12 short and thick primary gill rakers on the 1st arch.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders are similar to non-breeders, but display more intense colors, especially a light edging of the fins.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders are similar to non-breeders but display more intense colors, especially light edging of the fins.
  • Side view of a yearling: Juveniles are similar to adults, but are slightly more elongated.
  • Alternative view of the head area.
  • Side view of a pumpkinseed X green sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance of color pattern, opercular flap, mouth, and pectoral fin.
  • Side view of a pumpkinseed X green sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance of color pattern, opercular flap, mouth, and pectoral fin.
  • Side view of a green sunfish X bluegill hybrid: Notice intermediate appearance of color pattern, mouth, and pectoral fin; the opercular flap is bluegill-like.
  • Side view of a green sunfish X bluegill hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance of color pattern, mouth, and pectoral fin; the opercular flap is bluegill-like.
  • Side view of a green sunfish X bluegill hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance of color pattern, mouth, and pectoral fin; the opercular flap is bluegill-like.
  • Close-up 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.
  • Close-up gill rakers of a green sunfish X longear sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate length and thickness of the gill rakers.
  • Side view of a pumpkinseed X green sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance of color pattern, opercular flap, mouth, and pectoral fin.
  • Head region of a pumpkinseed X green sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance of color pattern, opercular flap, mouth, and pectoral fin.
  • Close-up of gill rakers of a pumpkinseed X green sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate size and length of the gill rakers.
  • Gill rakers of a green sunfish X bluegill hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance of the gill rakers.
  • Side view of a green sunfish X longear sunfish: Notice the intermediate number of lateral line scales, the intermediate mouth, and pectoral fin.
  • Side view of a green sunfish X longear sunfish: Notice the intermediate number of lateral line scales, the intermediate mouth, and pectoral fin.
  • Side views of green sunfish (top), longear sunfish (bottom), and their hybrid (middle).
  • Side views of green sunfish (top), longear sunfish (bottom), and their hybrid (middle).
  • Close-up head of a green sunfish X longear sunfish hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance of the pectoral fin and the mouth.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Sunfishes (Centrarchidae)
Body
Mouth and snout: Mouth Terminal, large and oblique, with pads of small teeth on the jaws. No barbels. Body patterning, color, and scales: Back dark brown, olive, or green, sides yellow-green or blue-green, belly tan or yellow. Sides either with a more-or-less solid color, faint dark blotches or mottling, irregular faint light blue or yellowish SPOTS, and/or diffuse dark vertical bars. Sometimes 3-5 bluish lines radiating backward from underneath the eye; opercular flap dark with a light margin. Dorsal, caudal, and to a lesser extent anal fins usually darkly pigmented with faint dark blotches or light dark spots and often a light yellow/cream margin; pelvic and pectoral fins lightly pigmented to dusky. 44-51 ctenoid lateral scales. Body shape and size: Body laterally compressed and deep, somewhat elongated; oval in cross section. Typically 75-150 mm (3-6 in) TL; maximum in Wisconsin about 250 mm (10 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 9-11 spines and the second with 10-12 rays. Pelvic fins thoracic. Adipose fin absent. Anal fin with 3 spines and 9-10 rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
See similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Similar to non-breeders, but with more intense colors.
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 pumpkinseed; green sunfish X longear sunfish; green sunfish X bluegill.
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, RockModerately similar
BluegillSmall juveniles very similar, adults moderately similar
PumpkinseedSmall juveniles very similar, adults moderately similar
Sunfish, GreenN/A
Sunfish, LongearSmall juveniles very similar, adults moderately similar
Sunfish, OrangespottedSmall juveniles very similar, adults moderately similar
WarmouthSmall juveniles very similar, adults moderately similar
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