Black Crappie

Black Crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus

Type of Animal:

Lakes w/ ample cover & sandy/muddy bottoms, ponds w/ ample cover & sandy/muddy bottoms, backwater pools w/ ample cover, sloughs w/ ample cover & sandy/muddy bottoms, streams w/ ample cover & sandy/muddy bottoms, reservoirs w/ ample cover, clear navigation pools in large rivers w/ little to no current/ample cover, freshwater areas w/ underwater brush/rocks/weeds, cooler deeper clear abundantly vegetated backwater lakes, cooler deeper clear abundantly vegetated creeks, open standing water areas w/ submerged timber/aquatic vegetation, slow-flowing backwaters of large rivers, large deep lakes w/ hard bottoms, non-turbid waters of lakes/rivers, densely vegetated moderately acidic oxbow lakes w/ sandy/muddy bottom, middle to upper sections of water column in warmer months but stay near bottom of deeper areas in colder months, prefer temps of 57-79 F & pH of 5.6-7.5 (moderately acidic-slightly basic)

Native to EC/E US from E Dakotas/E Nebraska/E Kansas/E Oklahoma/E Texas eastward to all Midwest & SE US as well as West Virginia, W Pennsylvania, & W/N New York & in Canada from SE Manitoba to S Quebec. Introduced/invasive in most of continental US & S Canada as well as parts of Mexico & Panama.

Deep laterally compressed body, silvery-gray to green coloration w/ irregular/mottled black splotching over entire body, rows of dark spots on dorsal/anal/tail fins, males darker than females, both sexes darken during/after spawning

Zooplankton (especially planktonic crustaceans), crustaceans, larvae, insects, worms, smaller fish, walleye fry, pike fry, young crappie, small frogs

Status in Wild:

Not applicable

Schools of 20-90 fish. Colonial nesters w/ colonies having 5-30 nests-each nest guarded by territorial male who guards eggs/newly hatched fry. Fry live w/ dad for 4 days before leaving.

Additional Info:

Young: Fry/Fingerling
Group: School
Male: 0.5-2 lbs
Female: 0.25-1 lb
2-5 days 

Life Span:
7-12 years

Body Length:
Male: 8-14 in
Female: 4-10 in
Young: 0.5 in

Tail Length:
1.3 in, same for both sexes

Main predators of adults are larger predatory fish, alligators, snapping turtles, otters, eagles, osprey, bears, herons, kingfishers, gulls, & raccoons. Predatory aquatic insects, cyclopids, bluegills, & redear sunfish eat young.
Sometimes hybridize w/ closely related White Crappie in areas where they meet.
Also called Calico Bass, White Perch, Speckled Perch, Specks, Strawberry Bass, & Bachelor Perch.
Reach maturity at 2 years old.
Breeding/spawning usually occurs in spring & early summer.

Fun Fact(s):
They’re very popular game fish.
A single female can lay up to 40,000-60,000 eggs & multiple females lay eggs in single nest. This makes these fish very prolific & they easily explode if not kept in check.
Males highly defensive of eggs, even charging at humans who get too close.

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