Fun Black Crappie Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Jan 09, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Black crappie facts about the fish species with 7-8 dorsal fins.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.8 Min

The black crappie fish, scientifically known as Pomoxis nigromaculatus, is one of the two recognized members of genera Pomoxis. These bony fish are embellished in silver-grey to olive or green shades in combination with patterned black splotches and constitute the staple and popular members of edible game fishes. In fact, black crappies are considered the distinguishing attractions during fishing trips. These ray-finned fishes are nocturnal and hunt during the hours of dawn and dusk.

Morphologically the Pomoxis nigromaculatus show a number of similarities to their lighter shaded kin, the white crappie. Looking to discover some interesting facts about the members of the crappie tribe? Here are some incredible facts about this popular fish species. Afterward, do check these black cod facts and codfish facts as well.

Black Crappie Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black crappie?

The black crappie or Pomoxis nigromaculatus is classified as fish and is popularly recognized as panfish or edible game fish. The black crappie shares its biological genus Pomoxis, with just one other member that is white crappie fish. Pomoxis nigromaculatus are dwellers of freshwater waters.

What class of animal does a black crappie belong to?

The black crappie, or Pomoxis nigromaculatus, belongs to the class Actinopterygii; that is, a classified group of bony fishes which are known to possess distinguishing ray-fins. Their webby skin or fins are supported by horny or bony spines.

How many black crappies are there in the world?

There are no exact details about the global population of the black crappie. However, the harvesting of these fishes is quite reasonable and requires minimal regulations, and therefore, the population can be steadily modulated. In fact, these bony fish are classified as least concerned with respect to their conservation status.

Where does a black crappie live?

Native inhabitants of North America, Pomoxis nigromaculatus are aquatic animals found in freshwater water bodies, such as rivers, lakes, and streams. Their native range in North America extends along Atlantic Coast from Virginia to Florida.

What is a black crappie's habitat?

The black crappie habitat consists of freshwater water bodies ranging from lakes, sloughs, borrow pits in large rivers, streams, and ponds to reservoirs. Factors such as cool, clear water bodies, muddy or sandy substrates with sufficient cover, little to no water currents, and depth decided by aspects such as reproduction, environment, or feeding habits are certain characteristics of Pomoxis nigromaculatus habitations.

Who do black crappies live with?

The North American black crappie is a schooling fish species. This means that black crappies usually live in groups that are made of other members of the species and these groups are called schools or shoals. In their freshwater habitats, this species of fish lives with other fish of the same size or sometimes even bigger.

How long does a black crappie live?

The black crappie lifespan is around seven years of age. However, the longest lifespan record for these bony fishes was about 15 years. Owing to reasons such as their popularity as edible game fishes, recreational fishing, the longevity of the black crappie is stunted.

How do they reproduce?

Reproduction or breeding is one of the end phases in the black crappie life cycle and includes major nesting procedures. The male members of the species build loose nests. Generally, the site for nesting includes a firm clayey or sandy substrate with dense vegetation and slow-moving, shallow, and freshwater water bodies. The females of the black crappie species are polyandrous and, on attraction to the nesting location, lay their eggs in multiple nests for fertilization. The male members then fertilize the eggs in their respective nests. Warm water temperatures ranging between 58‒68 ° Fahrenheit (14‒20° Celcius) are preferred by the females for spawning. During the spawning season that generally stretches from spring to early summer days, females on average lay about 40,000 eggs. Reversing the sex roles, the male members of the species watch over the developing egg and stay for about 2-3 days following the hatching.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, the members of black crappie have been categorized under the conservation status of least concern. Their populations are not threatened in any way whatsoever.

Black Crappie Fun Facts

What do black crappies look like?

Belonging to the family of ray-finned fishes, the defining characteristic of the members of the black crappie species is the spinny arrangement ranging between 7-8 spines along their dorsal fin. Dimensionally, the body of these fishes is laterally compressed and adorned with dorsal as well as anal fins. The structure of the anal and dorsal fin is similar and patterned with dark shaded spots. In addition to the dorsal and anal fins, the caudal fins of these fishes are also tinged with numerous dark spots. The black crappie possesses a large mouth with a protruding lower jaw. Shades such as olive, silvery-gray, black, and green can be seen in black crappie fishes. The silver shades are observed along the lateral lines, whereas the range of olive and green can be spotted on the top. Black splotches are diversely speckled over the anatomy of the members of the black crappie species. Sexual dimorphism is observed amongst the members of the species. Males are comparatively larger and darker than their female counterparts.

Black Crappie

How cute are they?

Pomoxis nigromaculatus, adorned in beautiful hues of silver-grey, olives, or green with patterned black splotches, are pretty rather than a cute group of fish. These animals in their natural habitat are beautiful sights to behold.

How do they communicate?

The perception channels of black crappies are based on vibrations and visual sensations. Scotopic vision is well marked in the members of the species, which enables them to hunt even at low-intensity lights. Besides the visual perception, members of the black crappie species comprehend vibrations in their environment with the help of its lateral lines.

How big is a black crappie?

A black crappie size, on average, usually ranges between 8-10.8 in (20.3-27.4  cm) length. However, the largest black crappie recorded to date was about 19.3 in (49.02 cm) long.

How fast can a black crappie swim?

There are no specific details about the swimming speed of the black crappie.

How much does a black crappie weigh?

The average weight of black crappie fish ranges between 3.3-5.4 lb (1.49-2.44 kg). According to records, the heaviest recognized member was nearly about 6 lb (2.72 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

No individual names have been assigned to the members of the Pomoxis nigromaculatus species based on their sex. They are simply referred to by their generic species name, wherein males are known as male black crappie, while females are referred to as female black crappie. The nomenclature for the white crappie is also the same.

What would you call a baby black crappie?

A baby black crappie is typically called either a juvenile black crappie or young black crappie.

What do they eat?

The members of this fish are nocturnal hunters. The nourishing time of the crappie generally ranges from the dark hours to the early hours of the morning. The black crappie diet generally includes insects, their larvae, small fish (like shad, minnows), amphipods, crustaceans, and Corophium. In comparison, juveniles survive on zooplanktons and minuscule crustaceans. The feeding habitat differs depending on factors such as resource competition, water, habitat, season, and food availability.

Are they dangerous?

As live fish, the North American black crappie hasn’t been reported to be dangerous to humans. They show their predatory behavior only while hunting their feed.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, crappies are known to make wonderful pets as well. You can safely keep a crappie in an aquarium and ensure it gets its dietary needs.

Did you know...

Besides their scientific designation, these aquatic beauties are also recognized by nomenclatures such as strawberry bass, papermouth, calico bass, and speckled bass (or specks).

Crappie fishing is common throughout the USA. Black crappie fishing is usually done in spring which is their spawning season.

The breeding season or spawning season of crappies is controlled by the water temperature every year.

The Sunfish family consists of both the crappies along with largemouth and smallmouth black basses and rock basses.

There are lakes dedicated to fishing in Florida known as crappie lakes, which have abundant populations of the species.

It is difficult to differentiate between white crappie and black crappie without counting the spines on the dorsal fin.

The world record black crappie, which is the biggest crappie in the world was recently caught, in 2021 by an American man named Dave Burris in the waters of Clear Lake, California.

Do people eat black crappie?

Yes, Calico bass, along with the white crappie, are often consumed by human beings all over the globe. The most popular way of eating black crappies is by filleting them and frying or cooking the whole fillet. Besides making wonderful sport fishes, calico bass are recognized for their mild flavors.

Black crappie vs white crappie

Black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) and white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) are the only members of the genera Pomoxis and are known to possess certain morphological similarities. Both belong to the Sunfish family. However, a number of differences can be spotted between the white crappie and black crappie. To begin with, the black crappie fishes exhibit irregular splotches on their anatomy, whereas in the case of white crappie, vertical dark patterns are observed. Secondly, about 7-8 spines are noticed on the dorsal fin of Pomoxis nigromaculatus, while the same in the case of white crappie is about 5-6 spines. Besides the difference in appearance, the two relatives of the crappie genus also show dissimilarities in their habitations. The diet of the two is similar. The white crappie is tolerant of clearing as well as murky sites, whereas their darker relatives prefer clear and vegetation-covered inhabitations.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these king salmon facts and opah facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Black Crappie coloring pages.

Black Crappie Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Plankton, small fish, insects, crustaceans

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

Up to 40,000 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

3.3-5.4 lb (1.49-2.44 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

freshwater water bodies

Where Do They Live?


How Long Were They?


How Tall Were They?

8-10.8 in (20.32-27.4 cm)







Scientific Name

Pomoxis Nigromaculatus

What Do They Look Like?

Silvery-gray, olive to green

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

Read full bio >
Read the DisclaimerFact Correction