Lepomis macrochirus

Super Group: 
Rafinesque 1819
Lepomis macrochira (Rafinesque, 1819)
Ichthelis incisor (Nelson, 1876)
Lepiopomus macrochirus (Jordan, 1878)
Lepomis macrochirus (Forbes, 1884)
Lepomis pallidus (Forbes, 1884)


Diagnosis_Genus: Lepomis Rafinesque. Corps arrondi, ovale ou oblong, très-comprimé. tête et opercules écailleux, ceux-ci mutiques, le postérieur flexueux , membraneux, quelquefois auriculé. Bouche petite, mâchoires à petites dents, lèvre supérieure à peine extensible. Une nageoire dorsale, nageoire thoracique à 6 rayons dont 1 épineux, sans appendices. Anus au milieu.
Diagnosis_species: Lepomis macrochirus Rafinesque. Corps ovale, points bruns, point d'auricule, tache oblongue toute noire, pectorales très-longues atteignant l'anale, queue fourchue.

A dark blue or black "ear" on an extension of the gill cover called the opercular flap; a prominent dark blotch at the base of the dorsal fin, close to the tail; typically olive-green backs, with a blue or purplish sheen along the sides; faint vertical bars may be present along the sides; breeding males may have more blue and orange coloration on their flanks.
Opercle flexible; gill rakers reaching at least to base of second below when depressed; pectoral fins long and pointed, upper pectoral fin rays much longer than lower; pectoral fin contained 3.5 or fewer times in SL; supramaxilla absent or shorter than breadth of maxilla; maxillary width less than suborbital; lateral line present (arched upward anteriorly; Ross 2001); scales ctenoid (Hubbs et al.1991). Sexes may be differentiated by the more conspicuous genital papilla of the female (McComish 1968).
Body_adult_lenght_mean :19.1 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Body_adult_max_lenght: 40.5 cm TL (Lee 1980)
Max_published_weight: 2.2 kg
Body_egg_length: 1.09-1.40 mm (Fertilized eggs average, Merriman 1971)
Sequence_ERα_proteins: ABP96712.1 (Ding et al. 2016)


Lepomis: Greek, lepis = scaled + Greek, poma = gill cover, operculum;  macrochirus: macrochirus meaning large hand, probably referring to the body shape.

Type species

The type species for the genus Lepomis is Labrus auritus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Type illustration / Type locality / Type specimen

Type Locality : Ohio River, U.S.A.


Habitat: benthopelagic
Habitat: Freshwater
Habitat: U.S. distribution: Occurs naturally in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains (Hubbs et al. 1991). Originally restricted to western and central North America where it ranged from coastal Virginia to Florida, west to Texas and northern Mexico, and north from western Minnesota to western New York; widely transplanted elsewhere in North America (Lee 1980). Texas distribution: Statewide (Hubbs et al. 1991). Warren et al. (2000) listed the following drainage units for distribution of Lepomis macrochirus in the state: Red River (from the mouth upstream to and including the Kiamichi River), Sabine Lake (including minor coastal drainages west to Galveston Bay), Galveston Bay (including minor coastal drainages west to mouth of Brazos River), Brazos River, Colorado River, San Antonio Bay (including minor coastal drainages west of mouth of Colorado River to mouth of Nueces River), Nueces River. Found frequently in lakes, ponds, reservoirs and sluggish streams; occurs primarily in reservoirs in Hawaii; preferably lives in deep weed beds. Is active mainly during dusk and dawn.
pH_range: 7.0 - 7.5
Temperature: 27°C
Temperature_spawning: 21-32 degrees°C (In Florida, , Clugston 1966)
Depth: epipelagic (1 - 3 m)
Oxygen_level: oxic
Migratory: not a migrant

Life cycle

Longevity: 10 years
Generation_time: 3 to 12 months (1 year) Generally spawns first at one year of age, but as early as four months of age under favorable conditions (Swingle and Smith 1943).
Fertility_period: Seasonal (during spring and summer). In Texas, peak gonadal development was reached around mid-April, spawning continued well into September (Schloemer 1947); March - September spawning reported by Estes (1949). Breder and Rosen (1966) note spawning from April - October.
Fecundity_number_of_eggs: In Texas, females spawned an average of 5 times a year, with a 120 mm female spawning about 80,000 eggs a year (Estes (1949). Ulrey et al. (1938) reported females 2 years of age produced more than 3800 eggs; those at 4 years, more than 19,000. In Deep Lake, Michigan, this species produced an average of nearly 18,000 fry per nest (Carbine 1939).

Feeding behaviour


Mode of locomotion

Motility: motile_swimming

Observation site(s)


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Association with... Region origin Name of site In reference...
Amyloodinium ocellatum Gulf Coast Research Laboratory