Perca flavescens

yellow perch






Type Locality

New York (Mitchill 1814).


Etymology/Derivation of Scientific Name




Morone flavescens Mitchill 1814:18.



Maximum size: 40 cm TL (Page and Burr 1991).


Coloration: Peritoneum silvery (Goldstein and Simon 1999).


Counts: Anal fin soft rays 6 to 8 (Hubbs et al. 2008


Mouth position: Terminal, slightly oblique (Goldstein and Simon 1999).


Body shape: Upper jaw extending to below the middle of eye or farther (Hubbs et al. 2008).


External morphology: Preopercle strongly serrate (Hubbs et al. 2008).


Internal morphology: No canine teeth (Hubbs et al. 2008). Intestine well differentiated; pyloric caeca thick (Goldstein and Simon 1999).


Distribution (Native and Introduced)

U.S. distribution: Introduced as game fish throughout much of North America; native range includes much of southern tier of Canada and the northern United States east of the Rocky Mountains (Hubbs et al. 2008).


Texas distribution: Introduced into many waters in the state; established breeding populations exist only in the Rio Grande near El Paso, in Meredith Reservoir on the Canadian River, and Greenbelt Reservoir on the Salt Fork of the Red River (Hubbs et al. 2008).


Abundance/Conservation status (Federal, State, NGO)

Currently Stable (Warren et al. 2000) in the southern United States.


Habitat Associations



Mesohabitat: Freshwater, rarely brackish waters; very adaptable species that lives in a variety of habitats; most common in clear, open water with moderate vegetation; occurs irregularly at depths greater than 10 m (Lee 1980).



Spawning season:


Spawning habitat: May reproduce in clear water on submerged plants or, if not available, on other submerged items such as logs, gravel, and rocks (Simon 1999).


Spawning behavior: Nonguarder; open substratum spawner; phytolithophil – nonobligatory plant spawner that deposits eggs on submerged items, has late hatching larvae with cement glands in free embryos, has larvae with moderately developed respiratory structures, and has larvae that are photophobic (Balon 1981; Simon 1999).




Age at maturation




Growth and Population structure: 




Food habits: Invertivore/carnivore; main food items include immature insects, larger invertebrates, fishes and fish eggs (Goldstein and Simon 1999).


Phylogeny and morphologically similar fishes



Host Records



Commercial or Environmental Importance




Balon, E.K. 1981. Additions and amendments to the classification of reproductive styles in fishes. Environmental Biology of Fishes 6(3/4):377-389.

Goldstein, R.M., and T.P. Simon. 1999. Toward a united definition of guild structure for feeding ecology of North American freshwater fishes. pp. 123-202 in T.P. Simon, editor. Assessing the sustainability and biological integrity of water resources using fish communities. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. 671 pp.


Hardy, J.D., Jr. 1978. Development of Fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight: an atlas of egg, larval, and juvenile stages. Vol. III: Aphredoderidae through Rachycentridae. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Services Program FWS-OBS-78/12. 394 pp.


Hubbs, C., R.J. Edwards, and G.P. Garrett. 2008. An annotated checklist of the freshwater fishes of Texas, with keys to identification of species. Texas Journal of Science, Supplement, 2nd edition 43(4):1-87.

Lee, D.S. 1980. Perca flavescens (Mitchill), Yellow perch. pp. 713 in D. S. Lee et al., Atlas of North American Freshwater Fishes. N. C. State Mus. Nat. Hist., Raleigh, i-r+854 pp.


Mitchill, S.L. 1814. Report, in part, of Samuel L. Mitchill, M.D., on the fishes of New York. D. Carlisle, New York.


Page, L. M. & B. M. Burr.  1991.  A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico.  Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 432 pp.

Simon, T. P. 1999. Assessment of Balon’s reproductive guilds with application to Midwestern North American Freshwater Fishes, pp. 97-121. In: Simon, T.L. (ed.). Assessing the sustainability and biological integrity of water resources using fish communities. CRC Press. Boca Raton, Florida. 671 pp.


Thorpe, J. 1977. Synopsis of biological data on the perch Perca fluviatilis Linnaeus, 1758 and Perca flavescens, 1814. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.


Warren, M.L., Jr., B.M. Burr, S.J. Walsh, H.L. Bart, Jr., R.C. Cashner, D.A. Etnier, B.J. Freeman, B.R. Kuhajda, R.L. Mayden, H.W. Robison, S.T. Ross, and W.C. Starnes. 2000. Diversity, Distribution, and Conservation status of the native freshwater fishes of the southern United States. Fisheries 25(10):7-29.

Whiteside, M.C., C.M. Swindoll, and W.L. Doolittle. 1985. Factors affecting the early life history of yellow perch, Perca flavescens. Environmental Biology of Fishes 12(1):47-56.