Troutperches and Relatives: Percopsiformes
Pirate Perch (aphredoderus Sayanus): Species Account
Physical characteristics: Pirate perch grow to a length of 5½ inches (14 centimeters). The head and mouth are large, and the bottom jaw juts beyond the top jaw. The lateral (LAT-uhr-uhl) line, a series of pores and tiny tubes along each side of a fish's body used for sensing vibrations, is either absent or incomplete. The sides of the head are covered by rough scales. As pirate perch mature, the anus moves forward from about the middle of the belly to the throat area.
Geographic range: Pirate perch live along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States and in the Mississippi Valley.
Habitat: Pirate perch usually live over mud in quiet bodies of water, such as swamps, ponds, ditches, and pools of creeks and in small to large rivers on mud and sandy bottoms. Adults usually live on bottoms that are covered with leaf litter.
Diet: Pirate perch feed on insects, blue-green algae (AL-jee), which are plantlike growths that live in water and have no true roots, stems, or leaves, and small crustaceans (krus-TAY-shuns) and fishes. Crustaceans are water-dwelling animals that have jointed legs and a hard shell but no backbone.
Behavior and reproduction: Pirate perch live alone and are active at dusk. They release sticky eggs over leaf litter and woody debris. They live for about four years.
Pirate perch and people: Pirate perch are used for testing the quality and cleanliness of water.
Conservation status: Pirate perch are not threatened or endangered. ∎
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Berra, Tim M. Freshwater Fish Distribution. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2001.
Gilbert, Carter Rowell, and James D. Williams. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Fishes: North America. New York: Knopf, 2002.
Schultz, Ken. Ken Schultz's Field Guide to Freshwater Fish. New York: Wiley, 2004.
"Indicator Species." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Biological Indicators of Watershed Health. http://www.epa.gov/bioindicators/html/indicator.html (accessed on October 16, 2004).
"Pirate Perch, Aphredoderus sayanus." The Virtual Aquarium. http://www.cnr.vt.edu/efish/families/aphredoderidae.html (accessed on October 4, 2004).
Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesTroutperches and Relatives: Percopsiformes - Physical Characteristics, Conservation Status, Pirate Perch (aphredoderus Sayanus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, BEHAVIOR AND REPRODUCTION, THEIR RELATIVES TROUTPERCHES AND PEOPLE