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Temporal range: Pliocene–recent
Yellow perch (Perca flavescens)
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Percidae
Subfamily: Percinae
Rafinesque, 1815
Genus: Perca
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Perca fluviatilis
Linnaeus, 1758

Perch is a common name for fish of the genus Perca, freshwater gamefish belonging to the family Percidae. The perch, of which three species occur in different geographical areas, lend their name to a large order of vertebrates: the Perciformes, from the Greek : πέρκη (perke), simply meaning perch, and the Latin forma meaning shape. Many species of freshwater gamefish more or less resemble perch, but belong to different genera. In fact, the exclusively saltwater-dwelling red drum is often referred to as a red perch, though by definition perch are freshwater fish. Though many fish are referred to as perch as a common name, to be considered a true perch, the fish must be of the family Percidae.


The type species for this genus is the European perch, P. fluviatilis.


Most authorities recognize three species within the perch genus:


The general body type of a perch is somewhat long and rounded. True perch have "rough" or ctenoid scales. On the anterior side of the head are the maxilla and lower mandible for the mouth, a pair of nostrils, and two lidless eyes. On the posterior sides are the opercular series, which protect the gills, and the lateral line system, which is sensitive to vibrations in the water. The kidney of the perch runs along the backbone and forms a head, caudal to the gills. [2] Perch have paired pectoral and pelvic fins, and two dorsal fins, the first one spiny and the second soft. These two fins can be separate or joined.


Perch are carnivorous fish most commonly found in small ponds, lakes, streams, or rivers. These fish feed on smaller fish, shellfish, or insect larvae, but can be caught with nearly any bait. They commonly spawn during the spring, when the females lay strings of eggs in covered areas such as near branches or underwater plants. These fish are most abundant in clear, weedy lakes that have a muck, sand, or gravel bottom. Perch have a wide distribution throughout the world, and are very plentiful in the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie.


Perch are a popular sport fish species. They are known to put up a fight, and to be good for eating. They can be caught with a variety of methods, including float fishing, lure fishing, and legering. Fly fishing for perch using patterns that imitate small fry or invertebrates can be successful. The record weight for this fish in Britain is 2.81 kg (6 lb 3 oz), the Netherlands 3.05 kg (6 lb 11+12 oz), [3] and in America 2.83 kg (6 lb 4 oz).

Perch grow to around 50 cm (20 in) and 2.3 kg (5 lb) or more, but the most common size caught are around 30 cm (1 ft) and 450 g (1 lb) or less and anything over 40 cm (16 in) and 900 g (2 lb) is considered a prize catch.

See also

Related Research Articles

Walleye Species of fish

The walleye, also called the yellow pike or yellow pickerel, is a freshwater perciform fish native to most of Canada and to the Northern United States. It is a North American close relative of the European zander, also known as the pikeperch. The walleye is sometimes called the yellow walleye to distinguish it from the blue walleye, which is a subspecies that was once found in the southern Ontario and Quebec regions, but is now presumed extinct. However, recent genetic analysis of a preserved (frozen) 'blue walleye' sample suggests that the blue and yellow walleye were simply phenotypes within the same species and do not merit separate taxonomic classification.

Percidae Family of fishes

The Percidae are a family of ray-finned fish, part of the order Perciformes, which are found in fresh and brackish waters of the Northern Hemisphere. The majority are Nearctic, but there are also Palearctic species. The family contains more than 200 species in 11 genera. The perches, and their relatives are in this family; well-known species include the walleye, sauger, ruffe, and three species of perch. However, small fish known as darters are also a part of this family.

Northern pike Species of fish

The northern pike is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox. They are typical of brackish and fresh waters of the Northern Hemisphere. They are known simply as a pike in Britain, Ireland, and most of Eastern Europe, Canada and the United States.


A panfish, also spelled pan-fish or pan fish, is an edible game fish that usually does not outgrow the size of a frying pan. The term is also commonly used by anglers to refer to any small catch that will fit in a pan but is large enough to be legal. The species which match this definition and usage vary according to geography. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term was first recorded in 1796 in American Cookery, the first known cookbook written by an American.

Zander Species of fish

The zander, sander or pikeperch, is a species of ray-finned fish from the family Percidae, which includes the perches, ruffes and darters. It is found in freshwater and brackish habitats in western Eurasia. It is a popular game fish and has been introduced to a variety of localities outside its native range. It is the type species of the genus Sander.

Sacramento perch Species of fish

The Sacramento perch is an endangered sunfish native to the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, Pajaro, and Salinas River areas in California, but widely introduced throughout the western United States.

Yellow perch Species of fish

The yellow perch, commonly referred to as perch, striped perch, American perch,American river perch or preacher is a freshwater perciform fish native to much of North America. The yellow perch was described in 1814 by Samuel Latham Mitchill from New York. It is closely related, and morphologically similar to the European perch ; and is sometimes considered a subspecies of its European counterpart. Other common names for yellow perch include American perch, coontail, lake perch, raccoon perch, ring-tail perch, ringed perch, and striped perch. Another nickname for the perch is the Dodd fish.

Tench Species of fish

The tench or doctor fish is a fresh- and brackish-water fish of the order Cypriniformes found throughout Eurasia from Western Europe including the British Isles east into Asia as far as the Ob and Yenisei Rivers. It is also found in Lake Baikal. It normally inhabits slow-moving freshwater habitats, particularly lakes and lowland rivers.

Golden perch Species of fish

The golden perch is a medium-sized, yellow or gold-coloured Australian freshwater fish species found primarily in the Murray-Darling River system, though a subspecies is found in the Lake Eyre-Cooper Creek system, and another subspecies, suspected to be ancestral to all other populations, is found in the Fitzroy River system in Queensland. Golden perch are not a true perch of the genus Perca, but a member of the Percichthyidae family.

Freshwater drum Species of fish

The freshwater drum, Aplodinotus grunniens, is a fish endemic to North and Central America. It is the only species in the genus Aplodinotus, and is a member of the family Sciaenidae. It is the only North American member of the group that inhabits freshwater for its entire life. Its generic name, Aplodinotus, comes from Greek meaning "single back", and the specific epithet, grunniens, comes from a Latin word meaning "grunting". It is given to it because of the grunting noise that mature males make. This noise comes from a special set of muscles within the body cavity that vibrate against the swim bladder. The purpose of the grunting is unknown, but due to it being present in only mature males and during the spawning season, it is assumed to be linked to spawning.

Perch may refer to:

European perch Species of fish

The European perch, also known as the common perch, redfin perch, big-scaled redfin, English perch, Eurasian perch, Eurasian river perch, Hatch or in Anglophone parts of Europe, simply the perch, is a predatory species of the freshwater perch native to Europe and northern Asia. The species is a popular quarry for anglers, and has been widely introduced beyond its native area, into Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. They have caused substantial damage to native fish populations in Australia and have been proclaimed a noxious species in New South Wales.

<i>Gymnocephalus</i> Genus of fishes

Gymnocephalus is a genus of ray-finned fishes from the family Percidae, which includes the perches, pike-perches and darters. They are from the Western Palearctic area, although one species, Gymnocephalus cernua has been accidentally introduced to the Great Lakes region where it is regarded as an invasive species. They have the common name "ruffe" and resemble the true perches in the genus Perca, but are usually smaller and have a different pattern.

Volga pikeperch Species of fish

Sander volgensis, the Volga pikeperch or Volga zander, is a species of fish in the perch family Percidae. It is found in Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

Western Atlantic seabream Species of fish

Western Atlantic seabream is an ocean-going species of fish in the family, Sparidae. It was first described in 1758 by the "father of modern taxonomy," Carl Linnaeus, in the 10th edition of his book, Systema Naturae. Within their native range, Western Atlantic seabream are also known as the seabream, brim, tropical sheepshead, chopa amarilla, or salema. Although they are eaten, and have been described as pan fish, Western Atlantic seabream have not gained the popularity as a gamefish that their relative, the sheepshead has.

The Balkhash perch is a species of perch endemic to the Lake Balkhash and Lake Alakol watershed system, which lies mainly in Kazakhstan. It is similar to the other two species of perch, and grows to a comparable size, but has a slimmer build and is lighter in colour.

Crucian carp Species of fish

The crucian carp is a medium-sized member of the common carp family Cyprinidae. It occurs widely in northern European regions.

<i>Zingel zingel</i> Species of fish

Zingel zingel, the zingel, is a species of freshwater ray-finned fish in the family Percidae. It is found in fast-flowing streams in southeastern Europe. It is the type species of the genus Zingel.

Angling records of Europe Sports

This list is of the heaviest European freshwater fish caught using the traditional angling method of rod and line.


  1. "Perca Linnaeus 1758 (perch)".
  2. Weatherley, A. H. (1963-03-01). "A Note on the Head Kidney and Kidney of the Perch Perca Fluviatilis (linnaeus), with Special Reference to the Blood Vascular System". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 140 (2): 161–167. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1963.tb01859.x. ISSN   1469-7998.