Open main menu

The Percidae are a family of perciform fish found in fresh and brackish waters of the Northern Hemisphere. The majority are Nearctic, but there are also Palearctic species. The family contains about 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.

Temporal range: Eocene to present
Yellow perch (Perca flavescens)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Superfamily: Percoidea
Family: Percidae
Rafinesque, 1815


This family is characterized by a greater or lesser degree of armour about the head, caused by the presence of teeth or spines on the cheeks and opercles (gill covers) or their edges, and by two narrow bands of numerous close-set teeth on the sides (palatines). Also, many percid fish have a heart-shaped plate of teeth on the roof of the mouth (vomer). The shape of these fish is usually somewhat slender and laterally compressed. Their scales are generally harsh and rough to the feel, or ctenoid. Percid fish are among the most beautiful of the freshwater fish due to their brilliant colors (red, brown, orange, and yellow are the most predominant tints).


FishBase lists 204 species in 11 genera, arranged in three subfamilies:[1]

  • Subfamily Etheostomatinae
    • Genus Ammocrypta (sand darters) (6 species)
    • Genus Etheostoma (smoothbelly darters) (157 species)
    • Genus Nothonotus - sometimes treated as a subgenus of Etheostoma
    • Genus Percina (roughbelly darters and logperches, about 45 species)
  • Subfamily Luciopercinae
  • Subfamily Percinae

Fossil generaEdit


  1. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2017). "Percidae" in FishBase. March 2017 version.