Black crappies are most accurately identified by the seven or eight spines on its dorsal fin (white crappies have five or six dorsal spines). Crappies have a deep and laterally compressed body. They are usually silvery-gray to green in color and show irregular or mottled black splotches over the entire body. Black crappies have rows of dark spots on their dorsal, anal, and caudal fins. Both crappies have large mouths extending to below the eye, and thin lips. Crappies are typically 4–8 inches (10–20 cm)long. The black crappie's range is uncertain, since it has been widely transplanted, but it is presumed to be similar to the white crappie's. Its native range is suspected to be in the eastern United States and Canada, and as of 2005, populations existed in all of the 48 contiguous U.S. states.