Jessi Jones

Pomoxis annularis, also known as white crappies, are just one of the many types of fish that inhabit local waters. According to web sites, the native areas of these fish were west of the Appalachian Mountains from southern Ontario all the way south to the Gulf of Mexico. Today it ranges from the Atlantic coast, and west into California and portions of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Colorado, Utah, and North Dakota (www.tpwd.state.tx.us). I was unable to find any Maryland websites that focused mainly on these fish. However, they were listed by the Department of Natural Resources as a fish local to the area.

Approximately 6 oz. to 1 lb. and between 5 and 14 inches long, white crappies inhabit lakes ponds, and slow large streams with a mud bottom, weeds and brush-piles where they feed on small fish and insects (www.ohiokids.org/ohc/nature/animals/fish/whcrappie.html). Their scientific name is Greek for "opercle sharp" referring to the gill covers that have spines, and "having rings" referring to the dark vertical bands around the body.

White crappies are nest builders and tend to have a relatively high reproductive potential. Nesting season is from May to June, when temperatures are about 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. They produce between 5,000 and 30,000 eggs each year. These eggs, fry, hatch in about three to five days but remain attached to the nest substrate for a few more days. They free themselves with repeated and vigorous swimming motion. In the first year, white crappies grow to be about 3-5 inches. Then reach about seven inches by the second year. Within two to three years maturity is reached (TPW).

 

Apparently, crappies both black and white, are popular fish for sportsmen around the country. For our purposes they will be used in order to further evaluate and obtain some understanding, or at least recognition, of various behaviors.