Freshwater Fish Identification
Other names: White perch, calico bass
Status: Texas game fish
Pomoxis is Greek for "opercle sharp," and refers to the fact that
the fish's gill covers have spines. The species epithet nigromaculatus
is Latin and means "black spotted." The black crappie is easily confused with
the white crappie. However, it is deeper bodied than the white crappie, and
silvery-green in color. There are no distinct vertical bars, rather there are
irregular black blotches. The dorsal fin has seven or eight spines. Males do not
develop specialized breeding coloration during spawning season.
Black crappie predominate in the acidic waters of east and northeast Texas.
Black crappie over 3.5 pounds and almost 4.5 pounds have been captured from
Texas public waters and private waters, respectively.
Like other members of the sunfish family, black crappie are nest builders.
They nest in the spring, generally when water temperatures reach 60°F. The
biology of black crappie is very similar to that of white crappie. Growth in
terms of weight is very similar between the two species. White crappie tend to
have higher growth rates in terms of length, but black crappie are more robust
in body construction. Black crappie adults feed on fewer fish, and more insects
and crustaceans, than do white crappie.
The native range of the species was very similar to that of the white
crappie, except that it extended slightly further north into Canada and east to
the coastal plain south of Virginia. Currently, populations of black crappie can
be found in each of the 48 contiguous United States. In Texas, black crappie are
native to the central portions of the state exclusive of the Edwards Plateau,
and have been widely introduced. However, black crappie are abundant primarily
in clear, acidic waters of east Texas.
to crappie group