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white crappie

white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors


The average life span of a white crappie is four years. This fish averages eight inches in length. The deep body is flattened side-to-side. The back is arched in front of the dorsal fin and dips over the eye. The white crappie has a dark back, silvery sides with dark chainlike bars, a white belly and spots on the dorsal, caudal and anal fins. The dorsal fin has six spines.


The white crappie lives in creeks, rivers, lakes and ponds. This fish moves in groups around submerged objects. It may be found at depths of 15 feet or more but when breeding will move to shallow water. The white crappie reaches maturity at an age of two to three years. Spawning occurs April through June. The male builds a nest by fanning his fins over the bottom. The female deposits 29,000 to 147,000 eggs that hatch in three to eight days. The male guards the eggs. The white crappie eats insects, small fishes and crustaceans.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native