The black crappie does not tolerate murky waters well. It prefers a habitat with clear water.
  • Size

    8 to 12 inches (20-30 cm)
  • Diet

    Small fishes and larger invertebrates
  • Range

    North America
  • Habitat

    Lakes, rivers, ponds

Physical Characteristics

  • A deep body that is strongly compressed laterally.
  • Dark green to black mottling throughout its body with a greenish back and silvery-green sides. Median fins are yellowish green with dusky, wavy lines and white spots.
  • Common length of 8-12 inches (20-30 cm); maximum length of 19 inches (48 cm).
  • Maximum weight of 6 lbs (2.7 kg).

Animal Fact

The black crappie's maximum reported age is 15 years.

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists of small fishes and larger invertebrates.
  • Juveniles (up to approximately 6 inches (16 cm) in length) consume zooplankton, including planktonic crustaceans and free-swimming insect larvae.
  • Feeds throughout the day and night, but is most active at night.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Atlantic watershed from Virginia to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico drainage, and the St. Lawrence, Great Lakes and Mississippi River basin from Southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Found in lakes, ponds, sloughs, and backwaters and pools of streams.
  • Usually among vegetation over mud or sand, and is most common in clear water.
  • Widely introduced throughout North America, making its native habitat difficult to determine.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Oviparous, egg-laying species
  • Spawns in the Southeast U.S. from February to April when water temperatures reach 62 degrees Fahrenheit to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (16.7-18.3 degrees Celcius).
  • Males will build the nests and females lay between 11,000 and 188,000 eggs.

Conservation Status

  • “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Does not tolerate murky water well.
  • Considered an excellent game fish. It is a popular sport and food fish in the southern part of its range.
  • In the Southern U.S., its name is pronounced to rhyme with “choppy.” In other areas, the name rhymes with “snappy.”
  • Maximum reported age is 15 years.


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