Thursday, March 3, 2016

Fishes of the Perch Family

Fish was and still is a staple for many folks. When people were heading west to find fresh fish in a stream or a lake, was a welcomed food item. Today most of us purchase our fish in the grocery store and many come from fish farms. Back in the 19th Century that wasn't always the case. So, with that in mind, here are some tidbits on the Perch family of fish. Here's a link to Wikipedia with a bit about the 200 different fish that are a part of this family.

"Preopercle, toothed; opercle, spined; suborbitary bones, delicately toothed; tongue free. The dorsal fins are very powerful, the spines strong and sharp. The scaling moderately large, and with the posterior edge toothed. Swimming bladder very large. Number of vertebrae in the common species, forty-two."
Source: Fishes of the Perch Family ©1861

The Gradulated Perch shown below is Native to North America and "inhabits the rivers which flow from the Blue Mountains towards the Atlantic Ocean, and, with two others from the same country, is so similar to that of Europe, as to have been confounded with it, and to have assisted in the idea that the latter was also found in the New World. It indeed approaches very closely by the bands on the sides, and the red colour of the lower fins; and the distinctions pointed out by Cuvier are the stronger teeth upon the vomer, the more delicate indentations of the preopercle, and the more irregular form of the cranium."
Source: Fishes of the Perch Family ©1861

Below are some lists of various fish with as much or more than you need information about the various fish. The description is helpful if you're trying to write about a fish your characters caught and you've never caught one yourself. Enjoy!

Yellow Perch; American Perch; Ringed Perch.
Back dark olivaceous; sides golden yellow; belly pale; sides with 6 or 8 broad dark bars, which extend from the back to below the axis of the body; lower fins largely red or orange; upper fins olivaceous; usually no distinct black spot on anterior or posterior part of spinous dorsal. Back highest at origin of spinous dorsal, which is more or less behind insertion of pectoral; profile convex from dorsal to occiput, thence concave anteriorly, the snout projecting. Mouth somewhat oblique, maxillary reaching opposite middle of orbit. Cheeks closely scaled throughout, the scales imbricated; opercular striae and rugosities on top of head well marked. Pseudobranchia3 quite small. Gill-rakers stout, shortish. Head 3£ in length; depth 3£. D. XIII-I, 14; A. II, 7; scales 555-17. Fresh waters of the Eastern United States; chiefly northward and eastward; abundant.
Source: Synopsis of the Fishes of North America ©1883

FYI: I read where some types of bass are a part of the perch family but it seems that in America the type we have here (I could be wrong) are of the Sunfish family and the Sea bass family. So, I'd be careful if my character was fishing for bass and not refer to it as being of the perch family.

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