Dollar or Longear Sunfish

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atenkley's picture
Dollar or Longear Sunfish
<p>This fish was caught last night in a small river system in Lower Alabama that sampling date distribution maps show Longear but no Dollar Sunfish. &nbsp;Dollar Sunfish are shown to be in all adjacent waters. &nbsp;To me the relatively clean (only blue marks at base) opercular flap indicates Longear. &nbsp;From the pictures I&#39;ve seen, only Longears have the blue upper lip, but I&#39;m not sure this is significant. &nbsp;I have not been able to count the pectoral fin rays from this only one, and I&#39;m not sure on counting cheek scale rows...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This would be my first Longear, but before I list it, I&#39;d like the expert opinions! &nbsp;To help my education, I&#39;d be interested in knowing what factors determine your opinion. &nbsp;Thanks - Arlan</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 800px; height: 480px; " /></p>
TheHugbot's picture
My first guess would be

My first guess would be longear or a hybrid, but then again, I have virtually no experience of catching sunfish. (I have read a LOT of books on these things though. :D)

Reekfish's picture
I vote longear...

My money's on longear, because of the super-long ear flap and the size of the fish. Dollars are smaller fish, ranging from 1.7 - 4.7" while longears can be up to 9.5".

Here's one of my dollars for comparison:

They do look very similar and I could certainly be wrong.

MNbowfinangler's picture

My opinion is that your fish is a longear sunfish. Dollar sunfish are pretty small, and the larger ones generally have conspicuous read marks along the lateral line that I don't see on your fish.

However, it's been years since I've seen a longear sunfish, and it seems like longears can be pretty variable geographically.

Here are some dollar sunfish pictures showing the red marks along the lateral line:







For comparison, here are some longears from Louisiana:

fiddleFish's picture
A Longear

seems to be what you caught.    From Fishes of Alabama, key traits differentiating dollar and longear are


  • Cheek scales 5 to 7 rows
  • pec rays 13 to 15
  • no red streaks along lateral line


  • cheek scales 3 or 4 rows
  • pec rays usually 12
  • red streak along lateral line
  • max length 10 cm

I couldn't get accurate scale or ray counts from enlarging the pic, but the pec ray ct looked to be 14 or 15.  Also absence of any red pigment alon the lateral series  and the apparent length > 4" both support longear.

atenkley's picture
Thank you all..

You confirmed what I thought as well.  Longear it is!  Thanks again and I really appreciate it!  - Arlan

....visit  .....those other fish

Reekfish's picture

Congrats on your new lifer! :)