Redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus), as the name implies, are best distinguished by a distinct red opercle flap. They are also known as shellcrackers because their diet is primarily composed of snails and other mollusks. They are able to crush the shells by the special teeth in their throats. They also consume insect larvae and a variety of other invertebrates.
Redears are usually stocked with bluegill into new ponds at a rate of 10 percent of the entire bluegill numbers stocked. This is done to add diversity to the forage base and for the future angling enjoyment of the pond owner. Redears spawn by building nests when the water temperature reaches 68-75 degrees, at which time they are easily caught with crickets or worms.