Fun Redear Sunfish Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Oct 20, 2022 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel
Go through these Redear Sunfish facts to learn more about this fish.

The Redear Sunfish, Lepomis microlophus as it is scientifically known, is also known as Georgia bream, cherry gill, shell cracker, chinquapin, improved bream, rouge ear sunfish, and sun perch. They are known as shell crackers because of their ability to break open shells of their prey like snails.

This species is found in ponds, streams, reservoirs, and slow-moving water. These species' habitat includes plants and vegetation. These species tend to eat aquatic insects, snails, and crustaceans and thus, are known to be bottom feeders.

The spawning season begins around spring and ends in mid-summer. The males attract mates by building nests and producing a popping sound by clapping their jaw shut.

These species tend to differ because of the red in males and orange ear flap in females and tend to be dark in color. The anal fin has three spines and the dorsal fin has 10-11 spines.

Their conservation status is listed as Least Concern. This species was originally found in the Southeastern US from Texas to southern Illinois and east to the Atlantic ocean. This fish is quite fascinating to know about.

Read on to discover more! If you find this interesting, read about the pumpkinseed sunfish and suckerfish too.

Redear Sunfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Redear Sunfish?

The Redear Sunfish is a type of fish.

What class of animal does a Redear Sunfish belong to?

The Redear Sunfish belongs to the class Actinopterygii of fish. This is the category of ray-finned fishes.

How many Redear Sunfish are there in the world?

There has been no specific number of the Redear Sunfishes in the world recorded.

Where does a Redear Sunfish live?

The Redear Sunfish tend to live in warm waters in lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and streams. They are commonly found in the southeastern United States.

What is a Redear Sunfish's habitat?

The Redear Sunfish are found in lakes and slow-moving streams and ponds. They prefer to live near logs, plants, and vegetation.

Who do Redear Sunfish live with?

The Redear Sunfish live alone and sometimes in groups, or schools, also.

How long does a Redear Sunfish live?

The lifespan of the Redear Sunfish is around six years on average.

How do they reproduce?

Males produce a popping sound during the mating season to attract females. During courtship, the males surge towards the potential mates while making the popping sounds by clapping their jaws.

These fish also attract each other with chemical and visual cues. These fishes mate once a year and the spawning season begins in early spring and ends around mid-summer. The females produce 9,000-80,000 eggs per year.

Females lay their eggs in several nests. The males make their nests with sand and gravel near the aquatic plants and vegetation to save the eggs and the young ones before maturation.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Redear Sunfish is Least Concern. The population of these fish is not thought to be vulnerable.

Redear Sunfish Fun Facts

What do Redear Sunfish look like?

The Redear Sunfish looks similar to the blue-gill. It has a compressed body laterally and is green, gray, or black in color.

They are dark-colored dorsally and yellow ventrally. They have vertical bars running downwards from their dorsal. They have 13-14 pectoral rays on the pectoral fins, the dorsal fins have 10-11 spines and the anal fin has three spines.

Males have a red edge on the operculum or ear-flap while females have orange color on the same part. They have green specks on the head and gray and black specs covering the bodies.

The earflap of this fish is one of the most distinguishing features.

How cute are they?

The Redear Sunfish are not considered cute and some also think of them as ugly.

How do they communicate?

A lot of modes of communication have been observed among the Redear Sunfish. It has been observed that these sunfish use chemical cues when building nests and during spawning, these sunfish swim in a circular motion around their mates and produce a popping sound to attract females, and similarly, females choose their mates by their pattern and coloration.

How big is a Redear Sunfish?

The Redear Sunfish is 8-17 in (20-43 cm) long and weighs 0.26 lb (0.12 kg).

How fast can a Redear Sunfish swim?

The exact speed of a Redfish Sunfish is unknown but they are mostly found in slow-moving waters which makes them good swimmers.

How much does a Redear Sunfish weigh?

A Redear Sunfish weigh around 0.26 lb (0.12 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names of the male and female of the species.

What would you call a baby Redear Sunfish?

There is no specific name for a baby Redear Sunfish.

What do they eat?

These sunfish species are mainly bottom feeders and feed on algae and microcrustaceans and juveniles feed on small insects and insect larvae. Once they mature and their jaws fully develop, they began to feed on snails for their diet. The diet of adults includes aquatic insects, snails, copepods, and crustaceans.

Are they dangerous?

These sunfish species are not considered dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

The Sunfish species are good as pets as they are not problematic. Their food requirements are not difficult to manage and the aquarium requirements are minimal. Thus, these sunfish make a manageable pet.

Did you know...

The Redear Sunfish, Lepomis microlophus as it is scientifically known, is one of Delaware's largest and least colorful sunfish.

This sunfish has special teeth called pharyngeal teeth which help them crack shells as they tend to eat shelled creatures like snails and crustaceans.

The nest of this sunfish is called redds which are like small basins. These are made by males to attract females and lay their eggs.

Males tend to take care of the eggs till they hatch.

The world record Redear Sunfish was caught at Lake Havasu, North America, on 16 February 2014, which weighed 5.8 lb and was 17 in long and girth measured 19.5 in.

Catching and eating Redear Sunfish

Fishing for a cherry gill or a Georgia bream is quite fun. Just like other fishes, these can be caught by using live baits.

Larger fish can be caught using jig-spinners such as beetle fin. The best time to catch this species when fishing is during their spawning time, which begins in early spring when the water temperature is around 66 degrees.

This sunfish is considered to be the safest fish to eat as they are small and less fatty. This fish is highly consumed in the United States.

When eating a sunfish such as a Redear, you can pan-fry or bake it. To pan-fry it, cut it into fillets and add seasoning, salt, and pepper and coat it with flour and fry it.

It only takes a few minutes. To make it more healthy, you can bake the fish packing it with aluminum foil with some seasonings and lemon and fold it in the foil and bake it according to the recipe or oven.

Redear Sunfish vs Bluegill

While sometimes both the fishes are mistaken for each other, there are certain differences between the two fish:

The sunfish tends to grow bigger than the bluegill.

The sunfish can tolerate higher salinity than the bluegill, that is, the sunfish can outnumber the bluegill as the salt content in the water increases.

Bluegill is easier to catch than sunfish. After the spawning of the sunfish, this fish disperses and these fish tend to inhabit deeper water.

The bluegill has an orange-red coloring while the sunfish Redear has a golden/green color.

Bluegill feeds on small insects, invertebrates, and small fish mostly, while sunfish/Redear are bottom feeders and eat crayfish, mussels, and snails.  

Both bluegill and sunfish/Redear have similar habitats that include ponds, lakes, reservoirs, streams, and small rivers with slow-moving water and currents.  

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including green sunfish, or catfish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Redear Sunfish coloring pages.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

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Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel

Bachelor of Business Management

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Yashvee PatelBachelor of Business Management

Yashvee has won awards for both her writing and badminton skills. She holds a business administration honors degree and has previously interned with social media clients and worked on content for an international student festival. Yashvee has excelled in academic competitions, ranking in the top 100 in the Unified International English Olympiad and placing second in an essay-writing competition. Additionally, she has won the inter-school singles badminton title for two consecutive years.

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