ANIMAL: Dollar Sunfish Lepomis marginatus Type of Animal: Sunfish Habitat: Backwaters, swamps, small ponds, backwashes, brushy pools, small to medium lowland rivers, sluggish streams, silty sand/clay bottom floodplain pools w/ submerged aquatic vegetation/hydrophytes/overhanging vegetation along undercut banks, oxbows, silty sand/clay bottom ponds w/ submerged aquatic vegetation/hydrophytes/overhanging vegetation along undercut banks, reservoirs, lowland streams, tannin-stained waters, muddy waters, sluggish creeks, pH of 7-7.8 (neutral) & temps of 61-82 F Location(s): SE US Appearance: Somewhat round-shaped fish w/ small blue flecks/spots on light blue/green background, males (especially breeding males) more colorful than females, often having reddish-orangish color & greenish fins, Louisiana form brighter than Eastern/North Carolina form Food/Diet: Insect larvae, insects, crustaceans, detritus, filamentous algae, small fish, worms Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in aquariums, zoos, & aquaculture. Areas throughout range set aside to protect them. Lifestyle: Found in schools of 6-50 fish w/ more females than males. Colonial nesters w/ each nest guarded by territorial male. Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Fry/Fingerling Group: School Gestation: 5 days Life Span: 6 years Body Length: Male: 3.5-5 in Female: 3-4 in Main predators are larger fish, birds, alligators, turtles, snakes, & fish-eating mammals. Often spawn at same sites year after year. Many eggs at male’s nest sired by smaller less colorful satellite males (who often imitate females in behavior/color) & young sneaker males. Spawn from April to October w/ peaks in earlier months of spawning season. Females can produce anything from 322-9,206 eggs a season depending on body size. Nests often have egg clutches from multiple females & females spawn in multiple nests. Fry stay w/ dad for 1st week of life. Sexually mature at close to 2 years old. Much more common in E part of range being rather rare in W part of range. Sometimes kept in home aquariums. Sometimes hybridize w/ closely related sunfish species. They often need a cooling period before spawning. Fun Fact(s): Get name due to roundish body resembling silver dollar. Males highly protective of eggs/newly hatched fry, even charging people who come too close. Not highly sought after by anglers due to smaller size.