Reproductive Biology

Breeds in the late spring and early summer, when groups of males enter shallow water to begin building nests, which are depressions in the substrate. The male guards its nest. Females may also spawn with smaller males known as satellite and sneaker males, which take on the female coloration and fool nesting males into allowing them to approach and mate with females coming to the nest. Sneaker males may also lie in ambush in vegetation near a nesting male's site, wait for females to arrive, then quickly swim through the nest site, ejecting milt. The spherical, demersal eggs, which are laid singly or in small clusters, typically hatch in two to three days. Bluegills in the field typically attain sexual maturity at two to three years and about 4-5 in (10.2-12.7 cm) in length. Bluegills hybridize with pumpkinseeds and many other sun-fish species.

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