Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Tom Pettengill
Photo Copyright Tom Pettengill

The black crappie, Pomoxis nigromaculatus, is a popular sport fish that is currently found in many of Utah's warmer waters. The species is not native to Utah, but rather to much of central and eastern North America. The black crappie is much more abundant in Utah than is the closely related white crappie. The two species can be distinguished by several characteristics, including dorsal fin position; the dorsal fin of the black crappie is closer to the head, whereas the dorsal fin of the white crappie is further back on the body.

Adult black crappie eat small fishes and many types of invertebrates, including zooplankton and insects. The diet of juvenile black crappie is composed primarily of zooplankton. The species spawns in the spring and early summer over nests dug by the male in the substrate. After spawning, males guard the eggs, which hatch in two to five days. The black crappie prefers slow-moving, clear areas of warm creeks, streams, lakes, and reservoirs.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Sigler, W. F. and J. W. Sigler. 1996. Fishes of Utah[:] a natural history. University of Utah Press. Salt Lake City. 375 pp.