Sunfish Species Identification

Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)

  • Appearance: Bluegills are recognizable by their deep, flattened bodies, bright blue and purple on the face and gill cover, with a dark olive band. They typically have a dark spot at the base of the dorsal fin and display vertical bars along their sides.

Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)

  • Appearance: Green sunfish feature a larger mouth than most sunfishes, with a body that's dark green in color. They have turquoise markings on the face and sides, and their fins often have a white or yellowish edge.

Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus)

  • Appearance: This species is noted for its long, narrow body and distinctive red or orange belly in breeding males. They have blue streaks on the face and a black opercular flap marked with a red edge.

Redear Sunfish (Lepomis microlophus)

  • Appearance: Redear sunfish, or "shellcrackers," are identified by their olive-green to brown body, highlighted with light emerald and yellow hues. They have a characteristic red or orange spot on the margin of the gill cover.

Warmouth (Lepomis gulosus)

  • Appearance: Warmouths have a robust body with a large mouth. Their body is dark brown, marked with dark spots forming irregular bars. They have red eyes and a mottled appearance overall.

Flier (Centrarchus macropterus)

  • Appearance: The flier is a lesser-known sunfish with a compressed body and a round profile. It's primarily olive-green with a silver belly and can be identified by the absence of a spot on the dorsal fin.

Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus)

  • Appearance: Pumpkinseeds are vibrant sunfish with a mottled blue, orange, and green body. They have a distinctive red spot on the ear flap and blue stripes radiating from the mouth and eyes.

Spotted Sunfish (Lepomis punctatus)

  • Appearance: Spotted sunfish, or "stumpknockers," are small, with a body color ranging from dark green to brown, heavily speckled with black spots across their sides and fins, giving them their name.
Wild Advisor Pro


The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.