Family: Centrarchidae
Common Family: The Sunfish Family
Common Name: Green Sunfish
Scientific Name: Lepomis cyanellus

 Ecological Description/Identification

Green sunfish are extremely aggressive members of the sunfish family. They are distinguished by being blue green with yellow flecked scales, yellow underside and black ear plates.  

Green sunfish have a wide range in North America–east of the Rocky Mountains and from Canada to the Gulf Coast of the United States. Given their broad range, green sunfish spawn based on temperature, typically April through June. 


The species prefers areas in sluggish backwaters, lakes and ponds with gravel, sand or bedrock bottoms. They also can be found in very muddy waters and are able to tolerate poor water conditions. Green sunfish tend to spend their time hiding around rocks, submerged logs, plants and other types of cover.

Conservation Issues

Given their adaptability and range, green sunfish are not listed as a species of concern. In New Jersey and Florida, they are considered to be an invasive species. Being omnivorous, their broad diet allows them to grow quick and out compete other species of sunfish.


The world record stands at 2.7 pounds and 13 inches from Missouri.

Similar Species

Green sunfish sometimes are mistaken for bluegills because their gill covers have broken blue strips.