Similar to most animals, the Lepomis humilis display bright colors in the males and dark more neutral colors in the female. When temperatures begin to rise and the sun begins to shine the males colors become more noticeable and this can only mean one thing, baby time (Masloski, 2006)!

The males will begin by creating a nest in the bottom of shallow water. This nest is the smallest of all the sunfish nests created. The smallest is greatly influenced by the fact that the Lepomis humilis is the smallest in the sunfish category (IDNR, 2013). They construct their nest simply by digging a pit using their body. While they may be sweeping the bodies to dig deeper, the females are swimming about with dim colors and a large body that is filled with eggs. Once the pit is complete the female and male will enter and begin to breed (Malsoski, 2006). The breeding normally occurs from early June to early August(ODNR, 2012). This particular female may not be the only one that the male breeds with; however, the male will become very protective of the eggs and could potentially harm, possibly kill, the female in order to protect the nest (Malsoski, 2006).

Once the eggs are deposited, the males become the protector of the eggs and young until they are free swimming and can leave the nest (ODNR, 2012). The males will even protect against the female that had laid the eggs. In about one year, the Lepomis humilis will be mature and the males will no longer have to guard them (ODNR, 2012). By the end of the first year this fish will reach one inch and will continue to grow to two inches by the end of the second year (IDNR, 2013). The mature fish will live for at least four years. Unfortunately due to their small size they go unnoticed by anglers (ODNR, 2012). The mature fish is measured at two inches and will continue to grow an inch a year. The largest the Lepomis humilis gets is normally four inches after four years (IDNR, 2013).

         Female Lepomis humilis   

       Male Lepomis humilis                   

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