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The Green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) has a body that is short and stout, with a length rarely exceeding six inches.1 The head is normally olive in color, with the cheeks randomly spotted and streaked with bluish green. Color of the back is blackish-green to olive- or tannish-green. The sides are greenish with seven to twelve indistinct dark, vertical bars.2 The fins have a yellowish white border and a dark spot is displayed on the second dorsal (top) and anal (bottom) fins. The fin borders of males intensifies during breeding. Spawning begins in the spring and continues until late summer in water temperatures between 15-30oC (59-86_F). The eggs are laid in nests scooped out of gravel or sandy silt by the male in shallow water.2 Males often nest close to one another (12-20 inches apart), resulting in an almost constant defensive display of fighting between the males of adjacent territories. Green sunfish feed primarily on aquatic and terrestrial insects, but will also eat crayfish and small fish.
The species prefers vegetated areas in sluggish backwaters, lakes, and ponds with gravel, sand, or bedrock bottoms. They also can be found in very muddy waters and are able to tolerate poor water conditions. Green sunfish tend to spend their time hiding around rocks, submerged logs and other objects that provide cover and protection.