Orangespotted 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 faintly spotted, the dorsal fin is solid/spotted, there are 3 anal spines and 8-9 anal rays.
  • The sides are spotted, there are 36-41 lateral line scales, the dorsal fin is orange, and the opercular flap is slightly elongated.
  • Close-up head: The sensory pores are relatively large and are located just above the maxillary (rear of upper lip).
  • Close-up mouth: The mouth is small, and there is a slightly elongated dark opercular flap with light cream/orange margin.
  • Close-up pectoral fin: The pectoral fin is long and rounded or bluntly pointed.
  • Close-up gill rakers: There are 10-15 relatively long and thin primary gill rakers on the first arch.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders develop brighter colors, larger spots, orangish fins, bluish flanks, and a slightly elongated opercular flap.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders develop brighter colors, larger spots, orangish fins, bluish flanks, and a slightly elongated opercular flap.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders develop brighter colors, larger spots, orangish fins, bluish flanks, and a slightly elongated opercular flap.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders develop brighter colors, larger spots, orangish fins, bluish flanks, and a slightly elongated opercular flap.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders develop brighter colors, larger spots, orangish fins, bluish flanks, and a slightly elongated opercular flap.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders develop brighter colors, larger spots, orangish fins, bluish flanks, and a slightly elongated opercular flap.
  • Side view of a young-of-year: Juveniles are similar to adults, but are more elongated and spots and colors are muted, they appear to be more silvery.
  • Side view of a yearling: Juveniles are similar to adults, but are more elongated and spots and colors are muted, they appear to be more silvery.
  • Side view of a yearling: Juveniles are similar to adults, but are more elongated and spots and colors are muted, they appear to be more silvery.
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 blue, blue-gray or bluish-olive, belly yellow or orange. Sides with irregular orange spots and/or small blotches and sometimes faint diffuse vertical bars. Sometimes 3-5 bluish lines radiating backward from underneath the eye; opercular flap dark with a white or lavender margin and may be elongated in larger adults. 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. 36-41 ctenoid lateral scales. Body shape and size: Body laterally compressed and deep; oval in cross section. Typically 50-100 mm (2-4 in) TL; maximum in Wisconsin about 125 mm (5 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 10-11 spines and the second with about 10 rays. Pelvic fins thoracic. Adipose fin absent. Anal fin with 3 spines and 8-9 rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
See similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Similar to non-breeders, but with more intense colors (esp. blue sides, orange spots, and orange belly) and somewhat elongated opercular flap (photos).
Juveniles
Similar to adults, but spots and colors less intense (photos).
Hybrids
All Lepomis species in Wisconsin have the potential to hybridize with each other, and certain combinations are relatively common (no photos).
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, LongearVery similar
Sunfish, OrangespottedN/A
WarmouthVery similar
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