Longear sunfish, like other members of the sunfish family Centrarchidae, are freshwater fishes. In the warmer months of spawning season longear sunfish are generally found in shallower, warmer headwaters of streams which have numerous pools with permanent or semi-permanent flow. They prefer waters with a hard bottom of clay or gravel with clear waters and usually in or near aquatic vegetation. Although more abundant in headwaters, they can be found in streams and rivers of all sizes and are also found in lakes. Compared to other members of the sunfish family Centrarchidae, longear sunfish are better at obtaining food in moving waters than still waters. This may explain why longear sunfish are more abundant in streams than lakes compared to other members of the family, most of which are common within its geographic range. They are intolerant to turbid waters. Throughout the 20th century their populations have been reduced in areas where their native streams have suffered increased turbidity.
Habitat Regions: temperate ; freshwater
Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; rivers and streams
- Becker, G. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.
- Berra, T., G. Gunning. 1972. Season Movement and Home Range of the Longear Sunfish, *Lepomis megalotis* (Rafinesque) in Louisiana. The American Midland Naturalist, 88(2): 368-375.
- Gerking, S. 1953. Evidence for the Concepts of Home Range and Territory in Stream Fishes. Ecology, 34(2): 347-365.
- Page, L., B. Burr. 1991. The Peterson Field Guide Series: A Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.