The Lepomis megalotis is a brightly colored fish which include an olive green body with a pale yellow to bright orange belly with bright blue spots throughout the body (Mullaney, 2003). These color markings are used in mate recognition and female choice in the reproduction(Jackels, 2004).  The Lepomis megalotis has two main structures that help define it as a species. These structures include...

Opercular Flaps / Gill Covers: These flaps of skin cover and protect the gills of the fish.  The large size of the flaps, is what distinguishes the Lepomis megalotis from other Sunfish species. It looks similar to a long ear, hence the common name of Longear Sunfish (Ohio Department of Natural Resources, 2012). The male Lepomis megalotis uses these flaps in courting a female for reproduction. The larger the size of the flaps the more attached the females are to the males (Hickey, 1999). The color of these flaps vary amongst each fish from black to blue green. There is a correlation between the intensity of the colors and the dominance of the males (Goddard et al. 2000).

Ray Fins: All of the fins on the Lepomis megalotis are considered to be ray fins. Ray fins are distinguished by the fact that the fins are supported by the endoskeleton bones on the fish. They operate by the movement of the muscles located in the body of the fish.  Ray finned fish are known by the single dorsal fin (Murphy, 2005).