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Florida Manatee & Aquatic Center Animal Fact Sheet
BLUEGILL
Lepomis macrochirus

Range:
Eastern United States, southeastern Canada, and northeastern Mexico.

Although the Bluegill is a sunfish, the dark spot at the base of the dorsal fin, the vertical bars on their sides, and their small mouths differentiate them from others of their kind. The Bluegill has many spines, the dorsal fin alone can have as many as 11 spines and 12 soft rays; the anal fin has three spines and 10-12 rays. The upper sides of the Bluegill are primarily an olive green with hints of lavender, brown, copper, and orange along the body and stomach.

This fish has a deep long body, a small mouth, and a long pointed pectoral fin. The Bluegill also has an earflap also called the opercle, which is always black.




Habitat: Bluegills have been found in everything from springs to ponds including large rivers, reservoirs, swamps, warmer lakes, and slow streams. The Bluegill prefers weed beds.
Diet: Feed on Zooplankton, insects, and other invertebrates
Status: Least Concern (IUCN)
Approximate Dimensions of Adult:

Length: 6-10 inches
Weight: 1 pound

Lifespan: 5-6 years
Reproduction & Offspring:

The Bluegill spawns while the water temperature is at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the spawning season may peel in May and June, they do not stop spawning as long as the water is at an agreeable temperature. The female can lay up to 60,000 eggs. They create their nests in shallow waters; their nests are largely found among many other nests becoming a spawning bed. The male Bluegills guard their nests until the eggs hatch after five days.


 

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