Pomoxis nigromaculatus is a member of a variety of different groups, ranging from broad to very specific.  The following is the complete classification of the black crappie:

Domain: Eukarya

As a part of the Eukarya, the cells of a black crappie have a true nucleus and membrane bound organelles.

Kingdom: Animalia

As a part of the Animalia, the black crappie is a 
multicellular and heterotrophic organism.  In 
addition, the cells of this organism lack cell 
walls but have a plasma membrane.                       
                                                                                                                                                 A black crappie. Photo taken by Jim Negus .
Phylum: Chordata                                                                     
As a part of the Chordata, Pomoxis nigromaculatus possesses many distinct characteristics.  It has a notochord, a dorsal tubular nerve chord, pharyngeal gill slits, an endostyle that develops into a thyroid gland, and a postanal tail.  In addition, the black crappie has a true coelom and exhibits bilateral symmetry.

Class: Actinopterygii

As a part of the Actinopterygii, the black crappie has fins with bony spines, a bony skeleton, and an upper jaw that has two bones: the maxilla and the premaxilla.

Order: Perciformes

As a part of the Perciformes, Pomoxis nigromaculatus has dorsal and anal fins that are divided into two parts.  One part is spiny and the other part is soft-rayed.

Family: Centrarchidae

As a part of the Centrarchidae, the black crappie is a carnivorous organism.  In addition, it has a deep body that is compressed laterally.

Genus: Pomoxis

As a part of the genus Pomoxis, the Pomoxis nigromaculatus has between six and eight dorsal spines.  The length of the anal fin base is also the same length as the dorsal fin base.

Species: Pomoxis nigromaculatus

The Pomoxis nigromaculatus has seven or eight dorsal spines (compared to Pomoxis annularis, which only has six).  In addition, the black crappie has a dark spotted body without vertical stripes.  The length of the dorsal fin base is the same as the length from the dorsal origin to the eye.

The above computer-generated diagram by Laura Jacobson shows the phylogeny of the black crappie, or Pomoxis nigromaculatus, based solely on morphological characteristics rather than evolutionary history.  From this chart, one can see that Pomoxis annularis and Pomoxis nigromaculatus are closely related.

The diagram above (computer generated by Laura Jacobson) shows the phylogeny of Pomoxis nigromaculatus based on molecular data.  Specifically, this phylogenetic tree is based on differences in the cytochrome b sequences.  Cytochrome b is a mitochondrial DNA sequence that is involved in the control of the electron transport chain.  According to this data, the genus Pomoxis is most closely related to the genera Gomphosus and Geophagus.


To learn more about the black crappie’s habitat, click here.
To return to multipleorganisms.net and learn about other organisms that live near La Crosse, click here.