Due to its high sporting characteristics the Redear Sunfish (Lepomis microlophus) has become a popular species among anglers throughout North America. This gaming fish is similar in appearance to the Bluegill relative but typically is found to be darker in color and larger in size.
The nickname of the Redear Sunfish, “Shellcracker”, comes from its preferred diet of snails and other mollusk types. This species has even been known to open clams. More recently it has been discovered that the Redear Sunfish is capable of adding quagga mussels to its diet. This makes the Shellcracker a powerful ally in pond and lake management for combating the invasive and damaging freshwater mussel species.
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