Skip to main content

orangespotted sunfish

orangespotted sunfish (Lepomis humilis) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors


The orangespotted sunfish averages about four inches in length. Its body is compressed side-to-side. The black flap on its gill cover is fairly long and has a white edge. The body is green on the back and sides and white or yellow on the belly. Rust-colored spots are present on the lower sides. Breeding males have red eyes, red or orange-red spots on the lower sides and black edging on the pelvic and anal fins.


The orangespotted sunfish lives in backwaters and overflow pools of rivers and in streams with little or no current. It is tolerant of high turbidity and siltation, conditions that many other sunfishes cannot survive in. The orangespotted sunfish reaches maturity in its third year. Spawning occurs from May to August. The male uses his fins to fan out a nest on the bottom. The female deposits eggs in the nest, and they are fertilized by the male. The male stays with the eggs until they hatch, about five days later. The orangespotted sunfish eats crustaceans, insects and fishes.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native