As bottom fish, their favorite meals is snails, however they also consume other shelled animals. Their thick, tough teeth allow them to squash the skeletons of shelled animals. These teeth are at the rear of their mouths, as well as permit them to operate like a nutcracker by squashing the coverings of snails, thus the nickname, "shellcracker". They can also open up small clams. They will likewise eat larvae, fish eggs, and crayfish. Due to its specialized food particular niche, Redear sunfish can live lakes without contending for the same food of fish that choose area eating. And since snails could spread illness, as well as due to the fact that snails are one of Redear's preferred foods, these fish are utilized in lake management tasks to regulate snails.
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Lately, they have been located to consume quagga mussels, which are an extinct subspecies of the zebra mussel. As a result, Redear sunfish work versus Zebra mussels which are an invasive varieties that are becoming a problem. Redears can be made use of to aid control them.