Longear sunfish feed nearer to the surface than other sunfish. They mostly eat aquatic insects, microcrustaceans, fish eggs (including those of its own species), young bass, and young sunfish. They have been observed eating dragonflies and other insects, which touch the surface of the water.
Longear sunfish have also been observed follow northern hognose suckers, Hypentelium nigricans. As a northern hognose sucker moves along the bottom shoving pebbles around and picking them up with its mouth, longear sunfish will move along beside the sucker, picking around and feeding in the gravel after the sucker stirs it up.
Foods eaten include: aquatic insects – mostly midgeflies, microcrustaceans, fish eggs, terrestrial insects, young bass, newly hatched sunfish, including its own species, detritus, gnat larvae, day flies, snails and leeches.
Animal Foods: fish; eggs; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; mollusks; aquatic or marine worms
Other Foods: detritus
Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )
- Berra, T. 2001. Freshwater Fish Distribution. San Diego: Academic Press.
- Forbes, S., R. Richardson. 1920. The Fishes of Illinois. Danville: Published by Authority of the State of Illinois.