Skip to main content


flier (Centrarchus macropterus)
Photo © Isaac Szabo/Engbretson Underwater Photography

Features and Behaviors


The flier's body is compressed side-to-side. Its upper jaw reaches nearly to the middle of the eye. Its anal fin is almost as long as its dorsal fin. The body is green on the back and sides, and rows of dark spots on the sides appear as horizontal lines. A dark bar or teardrop is present below the eye. The fins have dark markings. The flier averages seven inches in length with females growing larger than males.


The flier lives in clear water with plenty of plants and little or no current. This fish reaches maturity at about one year of age. It spawns in April. The male fans out a nest into which the female deposits eggs. The flier eats insects, fishes and crustaceans.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Centrarchidae

Illinois Status: common, native