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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.


European perch (Perca fluviatilis), exhibiting its green coloration and red tipped fins, as well as the vertical bars on its sides. Perca fluviatilis 1879.jpg
European perch (Perca fluviatilis), exhibiting its green coloration and red tipped fins, as well as the vertical bars on its sides.

Most authorities recognize three species within the perch genus:


Skull of the European Perch showing the eye sockets, connective bones, operculum, and gill slits. Perch head.JPG
Skull of the European Perch showing the eye sockets, connective bones, operculum, and gill slits.

External Anatomy

Perch have a long and round body shape which allows for fast swimming in the water. True perch have "rough" or ctenoid scales. 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. [6] The head consists of the skull (formed from loosely connected bones), eyes, mouth, operculum, gills, and a pair of nostrils (which has no connection to the oral cavity). They have small brush-like teeth across their jaws and on the roof of their mouth. The gills are located under the operculum on both sides of the head and are used to extract oxygen molecules from water and expel carbon dioxide; the gills have gill rakers inside the mouth. [7]

External anatomy can be used to determine the sex of perch in multiple ways. Perch have two posterior openings located on their abdomen, the anal and urogenital. In males, the shape of the urogenital opening is round and larger than the anal opening. In females, the urogenital opening is often a V- or U-shape which is a similar size to the anal opening. Also, Males usually have a more brown-red colored urogenital opening compared to females. [8]

Internal Anatomy

The esophagus is a flexible tube that goes from the mouth to the stomach. The stomach is connected to the intestine via the pyloric sphincter. [7] The intestines of perch consist of the small intestine and large intestine; the intestines have many pyloric caeca and a spiral value, the small intestine consists of a part called the duodenum. The spleen is located after the stomach and before the spiral value. The spleen is connected to the circulatory system, not part of the digestive tract. The liver is composed of three lobes: one small lobe (includes the gall bladder) and two large lobes. Perch have long and narrow kidneys that contain clusters of nephrons which empty into the mesonephric duct. [9] They have a two-chambered heart consisting of four compartments: the sinus venous, one atrium, one ventricle, and conus. [10] Perch have a swim bladder that helps control buoyancy or floating within the water, the swim bladder is only found in bony fish. In perch, the duct connecting the swim bladder to the pharynx is closed so air is unable to pass through from the mouth, these fish are called physoclists. Specifically in perch, the gas bladder can vary from 12% to 25% of Oxygen and 1.4% to 2.9% of Carbon dioxide gas. [11] Perch reproductive organs include either a pair of testes (sperm-producing) or a pair of ovaries (egg-producing). [9]

The above picture is a labeled image of the internal anatomy of the species Perch Perca flavescens. Each letter corresponds to an internal body part, A: gills, B: auricle of the heart, C: ventricle of the heart, D: liver, E: stomach, F: digestive cecum, G: swim bladder, H: intestine, I: testis, and J: urinary bladder. Oste082p labelled.png
The above picture is a labeled image of the internal anatomy of the species Perch Perca flavescens. Each letter corresponds to an internal body part, A: gills, B: auricle of the heart, C: ventricle of the heart, D: liver, E: stomach, F: digestive cecum, G: swim bladder, H: intestine, I: testis, and J: urinary bladder.


Perch are classified as carnivores, choosing waters where smaller fish, shellfish, and insect larvae are abundant. The perch can be found in the central parts of the United States in freshwater ponds, lakes, streams, or rivers. These fish can be found in freshwater all over the world, and are known to inhabit the Great Lake region, in particular Lake Erie. These fish inhabit bodies of water where vegetation and debris is readily accessible. In the spring when the perch chooses to spawn, they use vegetation to conceal their eggs from predators. [13]


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), [14] 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.

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.

Burbot Species of fish

The burbot is the only gadiform (cod-like) freshwater fish. It is also known as bubbot, mariah, loche, cusk, freshwater cod, freshwater ling, freshwater cusk, the lawyer, coney-fish, lingcod, and eelpout. The species is closely related to the marine common ling and the cusk. It is the only member of the genus Lota. For some time of the year, the burbot lives under ice, and it requires frigid temperatures to breed.

Bluegill Species of fish

The bluegill, sometimes referred to as "bream", "brim", "sunny", "copper nose" or "perch" as is common in Texas, is a species of North American freshwater fish, native to and commonly found in streams, rivers, lakes, ponds and wetlands east of the Rockies. It is the type species of the genus Lepomis, from the family Centrarchidae in the order Perciformes.


The word panfish, also spelled pan-fish or pan fish, is an American English term describing edible game fish that usually do not outgrow the size of a frying pan. It is also commonly used by anglers to refer to any small catch that will fit into 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 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.

Channel catfish Species of fish

The channel catfish is North America's most numerous catfish species. It is the official fish of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee, and is informally referred to as a "channel cat". In the United States, they are the most fished catfish species with around 8 million anglers targeting them per year. The popularity of channel catfish for food has contributed to the rapid expansion of aquaculture of this species in the United States. It has also been widely introduced in Europe, Asia and South America, and it is legally considered an invasive species in many countries.

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.

Common bream Species of fish

The common bream, freshwater bream, bream, bronze bream, or carp bream, is a European species of freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae. It is now considered to be the only species in the genus Abramis.

Wels catfish Species of fish

The wels catfish, also called sheatfish or just wels, is a large species of catfish native to wide areas of central, southern, and eastern Europe, in the basins of the Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas. It has been introduced to Western Europe as a prized sport fish and is now found from the United Kingdom east to Kazakhstan and China and south to Greece and Turkey. It is a freshwater fish recognizable by its broad, flat head and wide mouth. Wels catfish can live for at least fifty years.

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, Euro perch, Eurasian perch, Eurasian river perch, Hatch, poor man’s rockfish 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.

Java barb Species of fish

The Java barb, more commonly known as silver barb in aquaculture, is a species of ray-finned fish in the genus Barbonymus.

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.

Nightfish Species of fish

The nightfish is a species of freshwater ray-finned fish, a temperate perch from the family Percichthyidae which is endemic to southwestern Australia.


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  14. "Nederlands record baars 56 cm - Bekijk de foto's, lees het vangstverslag!".