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Green Sunfish Lepomis cyanellus


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Green Sunfish
credit: Tkinias

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Family: Centrarchidae, Sunfishes view all from this family

Description The green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family (family Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes. A panfish popular with anglers, the green sunfish is also kept as an aquarium fish by hobbyists. They are usually caught by accident, while fishing for other game fish. Green sunfish can be caught with live bait such as nightcrawlers, waxworms, and mealworms. Grocery store baits such as pieces of hot dog or corn kernels can even catch fish. Small lures have been known to occasionally catch Green Sunfish. The green sunfish is said to have polarization sensitive vision not found in humans and other vertebrates mostly which helps in enhancement of visibility of target objects in scattering media, using a method called polarization difference imaging.

The green sunfish is blue-green in color on its back and sides with yellow-flecked bony-ridge scales called ctenoid scales, as well as yellow coloration on the ventral sides. They also have a dark spot located near the back end of the dorsal fin, the bases of the anal fins (Philips et al. 1982, p. 208; Page et al. 1991, p. 267) and on the ear plate ("Green Sunfish"). It has a relatively big mouth and long snout that extends to beneath the middle of the eye (Philips et al. 1982, p. 208; Page et al. 1991, p. 267). Its pectoral fins are short with rounded edges containing 13-14 pectoral fin rays (Page et al. 1991, p. 267), a dorsal fin with approximately ten dorsal spines ("Green Sunfish: Identification") and a homocercal tail. The typical length ranges from about 3-7 inches and usually weighs less than a pound ("Green Sunfish"). The green sunfish reaches a maximum recorded length of about 30 cm (12 in), with a maximum recorded weight of 960 g (2.2 lb). Identification of sunfish species from one another can sometimes be difficult as these species frequently hybridize (Philips et al. 1982, p. 208-209).

Dimensions Up to 10" (25 cm); 2 1/4 lbs (1 kg).

Habitat Lakes & ponds, Rivers & streams.

Range Plains, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Southwest, Texas.