The Perch are a family of perciform fish. The dorsal and anal fins are divided into anterior spiny and posterior soft-rayed portions, which may be partially or completely separated. The pelvic fins usually have one spine and up to five soft rays, positioned unusually far forward under the chin or under the belly. They are 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 10 genera. The darters, 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.
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 ciliate. 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).
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