Lepomis macrochirus

Picture of a bluegill fish
Image by Trisha Shears on Wikimedia, public domain.

Physical: The bluegill is a type of sunfish with olive green color, vertical stripes, and a yellow belly. They also have a large black spot and iridescent blue color on their gills. On average, they grow to about 7.5 in (19.1 cm), though the largest can grow up to 15 in (38.1 cm).

Habitat: Their native range spans from northern Mexico to Canada, and all the way in to the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes. They prefer shallow freshwater environments like ponds and slow moving rivers. Because they are a popular sport fish, they have also been introduced all over the US and on other continents.

Feeding: Bluegill are opportunistic feeders. They will eat anything from vegetation to zooplankton to fish eggs and other fish.

Breeding: The bluegill breeding season lasts from April to September. Males will build nests in the sediment of shallow water where females will lay their eggs. Often bluegills will build nests in colonies together. After the males fertilize the eggs, they will guard the nest from predators and debris. They can mate multiple times over the course of a season, and lay eggs in multiple different nests.

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