White Crappie

Common Name - White Crappie

Category - Fish

ScientificName - Pomoxis annularis

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Osteichthyes

Order - Perciformes

Family - Centrachidae

Genus - Pomoxis

Species - annularis


Description - Silvery olive with 8-10 irregular vertical bars on the sides and additional mottlings; body compressed from side to side; large mouth extending to under the eye; upper outline of head is concave, or depressed; dorsal fin (fin across back) with 6 (5-7) spines in front of 14-15 soft rays.

Size - Lengths up to 17 in. (43.2 cm) not uncommon; state record crappie is 19 in. (48.26 cm) long, 4 lbs. 6 oz. (1.98 kg), caught in a farm pond, Montgomery County

Ecological Role - The adult white crappie is a predator in the aquatic ecosystem. However, fish such as walleye, bass, and muskellunge might prey on young crappie. Both adult and young crappie may become prey for great blue heron, osprey, merganser, cormorants, snapping turtle, otter, and mink. Like several of the fishes, parasites of the white crappie include some one-celled organisms, flukes, tapeworms, and roundworms.

Fun Facts - Crappie are among the most highly prized panfish in Kentucky. They usually travel in groups, or schools, which may be a form of protection or a group-feeding behavior. The white crappie is also known as papermouth or newlight. The Latin word annularisrefers to having rings, probably in respect to the bars on the body.

Food - Young feed on small invertebrates, such as midges and other insect larvae; adults are piscivorous, feeding heavily on forage fish such as shad, minnows and other small sunfish, and to a lesser degree on microcrustacea and plankton.





Habitat - Quiet or sluggish water of lakes, ponds, streams and rivers; prefers submerged timber or inundated shoreline woody vegetation, and is tolerant of turbid water.

Kentucky Distribution - Statewide; has been introduced into reservoirs statewide

Life Cycle

Life Span - 7 – 10 years

Life Stage


Seasonal Changes - Breeding males take on darker coloration than females during breeding season. They move to shallow water and feed extensively just prior to spawning. During the summer when water temperatures rise above 80 degrees they move to deeper water along creek channels.

Spawning - April – June, when water temperatures reach 57 degrees; a saucer-shaped nest is made by the male in shallow water near the cover of submerged brush or a stump; one female is capable of producing 12,700 – 173,600 eggs, and may mate with several males; eggs hatch in 2 – 5 days; male guards eggs and young until the fry have dispersed; sexually mature at 2 years.

Status - Generally distributed and common throughout the state




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