The longear sunfish, Lepomis megalotis, is a freshwater fish in the sunfish family Centrarchidae of order Perciformes. It is native to the area of eastern North America stretching from the Great Lakes down to northeastern Mexico. The longear sunfish reaches a maximum recorded length of about 24 cm (9.5 in), with a maximum recorded weight of 790g (1.7 lb). Most do not live beyond six years. The longear sunfish is quite colorful, with an olive to rusty-brown back, bright orange belly and blue-green bars on the sides of its head. A unique characteristic is their elongated opercular flap, giving an appearance of a “long ear”. The species prefers densely vegetated, shallow waters in lakes, ponds, and sluggish streams. Avoiding strong currents, longear sunfish are usually present in small to moderate flowing streams, rivers, and reservoirs. Longear sunfish are better at getting food in moving waters than still waters. This may explain why they are more abundant in streams than lakes. Longear sunfish are found in North America, primarily in the Mississippi and Great Lakes regions. The species has also been spotted in places as far south and west as central Mexico and New Mexico. The native territory of the longear sunfish is exclusive to the North American Continent.