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The sunfish are a family (Centrarchidae) of freshwater ray-finned fish belonging to the order Perciformes. The type genus is Centrarchus (consisting solely of the flier, C. macropterus). The family's 37 species include many fish familiar to North Americans, including the rock bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and crappies. All are native only to North America.

Sunfishes
Temporal range: Late Eocene to Recent
Centrarchus macropterus (1).jpg
Flier (Centrarchus macropterus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Superfamily: Percoidea
Family: Centrarchidae
Bleeker, 1859
Genera

See text

Centrarchidae dis.png
Sunfish range

Family members are distinguished by having at least three anal spines. The dorsal spines are five to 13 in number, but most species have 10–12. The pseudobranch is small and concealed. Sizes of most are in the 20 to 30 cm (7.9 to 11.8 in) range. However, some are much smaller, with the black-banded sunfish at just 8 cm (3.1 in) in length, while the largemouth bass is reported to reach almost 1 m (3.3 ft) in extreme cases.[1]

The male of most species builds a nest by hollowing out a depression using his tail, then guards the eggs.[1]

Most sunfish are valued for sports fishing, and have been introduced in many areas outside their original ranges, sometimes becoming invasive species. While edible, they are not commercially marketed as a food fish.

Contents

Fossil recordEdit

The earliest fossils of Centrarchidae are from latest Eocene to early Oligocene deposits from Montana and South Dakota, belonging to several as yet undescribed species and the two extinct genera †Plioplarchus and †Boreocentrarchus. Both Plioplarchus and Boreocentrarchus are classified in the subfamily Centrarchinae, because these species possess more than three anal fin spines.[2]

HabitatEdit

 
smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu)

These fish prefer to live in and around aquatic vegetation so they can get adequate coverage from predators such as bass. They also prefer slow moving water such as lakes, or slow moving rivers. They are also social fish, as they prefer to live and travel in schools. They generally feed off of the bottom, but will rise to the surface to feed on insects. Their diet consists of plants and animals that are in the water in their habitat.[citation needed]

ClassificationEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Johnson, G.D.; Gill, A.C. (1998). Paxton, J.R.; Eschmeyer, W.N., eds. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 187. ISBN 0-12-547665-5. 
  2. ^ S. J. Cooke, D. P. Philipp (2009). Centrarchid fishes: diversity, biology, and conservation. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. pp. 1–38. 
  3. ^ Roe, K. J., et al. (2002). Phylogenetic relationships of the genera of North American sunfishes and basses (Percoidei: Centrarchidae) as evidenced by the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Copeia 2002(4), 897–905.
  4. ^ Near, T. J., D. I. Bolnick, and P. C. Wainwright (2005). ""Fossil calibrations and molecular divergence time estimates in centrarchid fishes (Teleostei: Centrarchidae)"". Evolution. 59: 1768–1782. 

External linksEdit