In order to thrive, all organisms must have some means of acquiring energy.  Pomoxis nigromaculatus is a carnivore, or an organism that only consumes heterotrophs.  Some heterotrophs that the black crappie eats are aquatic insects, immature bass and bluegills, and zooplankton.  There are two main ways that black crappies consume these organisms.

Pomoxis nigromaculatus ingests zooplankton through the use of                 
special structures on its gills called gill rakers.  These comblike 
structures allow for the filtering of food from water.  The gills are 
connected to the stomach for efficient digestion of these zooplankton.  
Absorption of water, an important molecule for many of the fish’s 
body processes, is another function of the gills.  Although this system 
is generally efficient, there are some vicious parasitic flukes that can      Gills and gill rakers of a panfish. (Upper 
establish themselves in the gills.  These parasites clog the gills and        Midwest Environmental Sciences Center).
do not allow respiration of filter feeding.                                                        

To learn more about the black crappie’s interactions with other species, click here.

In addition to being a successful filter feeder, the black crappie is a voracious predator.  Its large developed eyes and quick movements help Pomoxis nigromaculatus to feed on many small fish and aquatic insects.  Black crappies are also known to travel in schools to surround and capture prey more easily.

To learn more about some of the black crappie’s adaptations, click here.                                                                                                                                                                                             
    This diagram shows the general circulation
   path of a fish (generated by Laura Jacobson).                                                                                                                                         

If all energy needs are met once the food has been digested and circulated, black crappies will store the food as either glycogen or fat (adipose tissue).  Food stored as glycogen can be used on a more immediate basis while food that is stored as fat is used as a more long term reserve of energy.  This can be useful in the winter, when food is often scarce and black crappies need more significant amounts of energy.


To learn some interesting facts about the black crappie, click here.
To return to, click here.Interactions%20With%20Other%20Species.htmlAdaptations.htmlInteresting%20Facts.htmlhttp://multipleorganisms.netshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3