• Family: Centrarchidae (Sunfishes)
• Other Names: Orangespot
• Ohio Status: No special status
• Adult Size: Typically 2-3 inches, can reach 4 inches.
• Typical Foods: Insect larvae and other aquatic invertebrates.
The orangespotted sunfish is a small fish rarely caught on hook and line. They have an intermediate sized mouth that extends to the front edge of the eye but not much beyond that point. They have short rounded pectoral fins and a black opercle (ear flap) outlined in white. The male has orange dorsal, anal and pelvic fins and the anal and pelvics are usually outlined in black. The sides of the male are a metallic blue with orange spots scattered across the sides and cheeks. They also often have 3-6 silvery vertical bars usually with a purple sheen on their sides. Males have a orange belly and red-orange eyes. Female orangespotted sunfish are much duller colored. Their belly and pelvic fins are white or cream colored. The rear edge of the soft part of the dorsal fin usually has a few small dark spots. The rest of the dorsal and all other fins are clear. The sides are silvery often with a purple sheen. Instead of orange spots they have rusty brown spots scattered across the sides and cheeks.
Habitat and Habits
The range of the orangespotted sunfish has been gradually expanding eastward since the early 1900's when it was first found in Ohio. Since that time they have expanded from the Western edge of Ohio to across the entire state. The orangespotted sunfish has a preference for turbid (murky) water and are most abundant in large muddy rivers and reservoirs. Streams and rivers that contain orangespotted sunfish populations typically are very slow moving (low gradient) systems.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Like most species of sunfish male orangespotted sunfish build a nest in shallow water. Spawning takes place from early June to early August and the male guards the eggs and young till they become free swimming and leave the nest. Orangespotted sunfish often mature in just one year.