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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Green Sunfish - Lepomis cyanellus

Non-native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNA


Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:



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General Description
The green sunfish is another marginal introduction found scattered in the lower Yellowstone and Little Missouri river drainages of southeastern Montana. They are hardy little fish, tolerating a wide range of temperature, turbidity, and oxygen levels in slow-moving streams, ponds, or lakes. Green sunfish in Montana seldom exceed 5 inches in length although they are readily caught on a variety of baits. The food of this species, as with the other sunfishes, is primarily insects, crustaceans, and small fishes.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Body robust. Gill rakers long and slender. Breeding males have light-colored fringe on dorsal, anal, and tail fins.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions

Non-native
 


Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 854

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
Slow-moving streams at lower elevations and shallows of lakes. Tolerates turbid water, high temperatures and low dissolved oxygen.

Food Habits
Aquatic insects, small crustaceans and fishes, and small amounts of plant material.

Ecology
Well suited to radically changing conditions found in prairie streams.

Reproductive Characteristics
Sexually mature at end of 2nd growing season. Spawns May - midsummer in shallow areas with clean bottom at 60 degrees F.

References
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Barfoot, C.A. 1993. Longitudinal distribution of fishes and habitat in Little Beaver Creek, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 66 p.
    • Barfoot, C.A. and R.G. White. 1999. Fish assemblages and habitat relationships in a small northern Great Plains stream. The Prairie Naturalist 31(2):87-107.
    • Clancey, C.G. 1978. The fish and aquatic invertebrates in Sarpy Creek, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 54 p.
    • Duncan, M.B. 2019. Distributions, abundances, and movements of small, nongame fishes in a large Great Plains river network. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 255 p.
    • Holton, G.D. 1981. Identification of Montana's most common game and sport fishes. Montana Outdoors May/June reprint. 8 p.
    • Mullen, J.A. 2007. Spatiotemporal variation of fish assemblages in Montana prairie streams. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 102 p.
    • Penkal, R.F. 1977. Black bass populations of the Tongue River Reservoir, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 111 p.
    • Rosenthal, L.R. 2007. Evaluation of distribution and fish passage in relation to road culverts in two eastern Montana prairie streams. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 78 p.
    • Stringer, A.L. 2018. Status of Northern Pearl Dace and chrosomid dace in prairie streams of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 150 p.
    • USDI Bureau of Land Management. No date. Fishes of the Miles city, Montana BLM District. Miles City, MT: Miles City BLM District pamphlet. 12 p.
    • Wuellner, M.R. 2007. Influence of reach and watershed characteristics on fish distributions in small streams of eastern Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 80 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Green Sunfish — Lepomis cyanellus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from