Percina caprodes




Type Locality

Ohio River (Rafinesque 1818); presumably in vicinity of Louisville, KY (Thompson 1980).


Etymology/Derivation of Scientific Name

Percina, “a small perch;” caprodes, Greek for “resembling a pig,” in reference to the snout (Pflieger 1997).



Sciaena caprodes Rafinesque 1818:354

Percina caprodes carbonaria Cook 1959:195

Percina caprodes caprodes Cook 1959:195



Maximum size: 150 mm SL (Page 1983).


Coloration: Lateral bars wide, 9-10 whole bars; midbars between whole bars short, about half the length of whole bars (Hubbs et al 1991); yellow-brown to yellow-green dorsally; light green to white ventrally; side having numerous long dark vertical bars, continuing over the dorsum and alternating with shorter, thinner dark bars which also continue over dorsum; conspicuous black basicaudal spot and usually a weak suborbital bar. 1st and 2nd dorsal, and caudal fins banded with light brown. 1st dorsal fin black basally and distally. In P. caprodes inhabiting certain coastal drainages, bright orange or yellow marginal band present on 1st dorsal fin. Other fins mostly clear. Breeding males somewhat darker than other individuals, but sexual dimorphism in color less pronounced than in most darters (Page 1983). Hubbs et al. (1991) note breeding males in Texas populations without black on breast or pelvic or anal fins.


Counts: Lateral scales 67-100 (75-90; Page 1983), individuals in Texas populations with more than 77 scales in lateral line (Hubbs et al. 1991); pored scales on caudal fin 1-3; scales above lateral line 6-13 (7-10); scales below lateral line 11-18 (12-17); transverse scales 20-35; scales around caudal peduncle 24-37 (27-33); dorsal spines 12-17 (14-16); dorsal rays 14-18 (15-16); pectoral rays 12-16 (14-15); anal spines 2 (rarely 1); anal rays 8-13 (10-11); brachiostegal rays 6. Male having a complete row of 20-37 modified scales along the belly midline (Page 1983).


Body shape:  Body depth contained in standard length less than 7 times; snout conical extending beyond upper lip; upper jaw not extending as far as to below middle of eye (Hubbs et al. 1991).


Mouth position: Subterminal (Goldstein and Simon 1999).


External morphology: Vertical bars on sides of body equal thickness throughout length, without obvious constrictions medially; belly scaled (a narrow naked band may be present on midline); preopercle smooth or weakly serrate (Hubbs et al 1991); Breast unscaled; cheek and opercle scaled; belly midline of female unscaled; belly midline of male unscaled anteriorly (except for modified scales) and scaled posteriorly. Breeding male develops tubercles on ventral scales; breeding female develops elongated and broadened genital papilla (Page 1983).


Distribution (Native and Introduced)

U.S. distribution: Wide-ranging species found throughout much of the central U.S. (Hubbs et al. 1991); probably most widespread of all darters (Thompson 1980).


Texas distribution: Occurs only in a limited section of the middle Red River (Hubbs et al. 1991; Warren et al. 2000).


Abundance/Conservation status (Federal, State, NGO)

Hubbs et al. (1991) listed this species as one of Special Concern within the state of Texas, specifying Peripheral status (a wider ranging species that has a limited number of populations within the boundaries of Texas). Populations in southern drainages are currently stable (Warren et al. 2000).


Habitat Associations

Macrohabitat: Ranges from small creeks to rivers, lakes, and reservoirs (Thompson 1980).


Mesohabitat: Prefers clean riffles and runs over mixed sand and gravel, avoiding silted areas (Thompson 1980). In a study of behavioral response to low concentrations of dissolved oxygen, Percina caprodes, an obligate water breather, consistently avoided dissolved oxygen concentrations of about 2.0 mg 1ˉ¹ (Beitenger and Pettit 1984).



Spawning season: In Central Texas, mid-December or early January to mid-May (Hubbs 1985); average seasonal temperature in Central Texas at the time females are known to be ripe varies from 9-23 degrees C (Hubbs and Strawn 1963).


Spawning habitat: Over sand or gravel-bottomed areas of streams or in sand shoal areas of lakes (Winn 1985a); brood hiders that release eggs just below the surface of the substrate; lithophils, rock and gravel spawners that do not guard their eggs (Simon 1999).


Spawning behavior: In lakes, breeding males are non-territorial and weakly so in streams, defending only the immediate area around a female (referred to as moving territory; Ross 2001).  Male mounts female just prior to spawning, placing his pelvic fins in ahead of hers, bending his tail down alongside her tail. Both fish quiver, raising a cloud of sand as they partially bury themselves. During this time, eggs laid and fertilized. Exposed eggs are usually eaten by other males. On occasion, female may vibrate and partially bury herself before being mounted by male (Winn 1958a).


Fecundity: Egg counts varies from 1,060-3,085 for mature females of sizes ranging 55-84 mm SL (ova count averaged about 2,000 in two-year-olds); however only 10-20 eggs are laid at each spawning. Larger females produce more eggs than do smaller females (Winn 1958a). Average diameter of mature, ovarian eggs is 1.31 mm; eggs colorless and transparent (Winn 1958b). Cooper (1978) recorded eggs, each with granular yolk, numerous small oil droplets, and one large oil droplet, that averaged 1.1-1.3 mm in diameter, and hatched in about 200 hours after fertilization at an average water temperature of 16.5 degrees C. Grizzle and Curd (1978) reported egg hatching occurring in 5-7 days at water temperatures of 21-23 degrees C.


Age at maturation: In two populations sampled by Winn (1958b) only rarely was a yearling fish found to be mature.


Migration: May move from shallow areas into deeper water during the winter, migrating back into the shallow areas in the next reproductive season (Winn 1958b; Henderson 1960).


Growth and Population structure: An average hatching length of 4.47 mm TL reported by Cooper (1978). In Wisconsin, P. caprodes reached 56-69 mm SL at the end of first year, 85-98mm SL after two years, 100-108 mm SL after three years, and 111-117 mm SL after four years (Lutterbie 1979). In Illinois, Thomas (1970) reported growth during the first year to about 70 mm, two-year-olds averaged about 100 mm, and length was about 120 mm at the end of 3 years. In central Texas, Henderson (1960) reported the male of the species averaging larger size than the female.


Longevity:  No longer than four years (Lutterbie 1979).


Food habits:  Invertivore; benthic; digger (Goldstein and Simon 1999); Juveniles and adults use long, bulbous snout to flip over stones and root in gravel to expose food organisms (Keast and Webb 1966); feeding throughout the daylight hours (Thomas 1970). Main food item is aquatic insect larvae, particularly mayfly and midge (Dipteran) larvae and small crustaceans (principally cladocerans; Turner 1921; Keast and Webb 1966; Mullan et al. 1968).  Species has been known to feed on the eggs of other fishes, namely largemouth bass eggs in Arkansas (Mullan et al. 1968) and sea lamprey eggs in Michigan (Manion 1968). Early larvae feed on small planktonic organisms (Grizzle and Curd 1978; Paine 1984). In a central Texas study, the first and second major food items during the summer were Chironomidae and Ephemeroptera, respectively; during the winter, the major food item was Simuliidae, the second most important was Chironomidae larvae; diet also includes the following items: Cladocera, eggs, Copepoda, Trichoptera, and Gastropoda; the bulk of nourishment from the 70 fish investigated consisted of Diptera, Ephemeroptera and Trichoptera larvae; same type food items taken by all fish studies, regardless of age or sex; species primarily insectivorous in this study area (Henderson 1960).


Phylogeny and morphologically similar fishes

Percina carbonaria, the Texas logperch, is similar to Percina caprodes, the logperch, but has black breast, gill membranes, and anal and pelvic fins on large male; other differences include orange band on 1st dorsal fin (unlike Logperch, except Ozark species and Gulf Slope forms), and olive-brown coloration above (Page and Burr 1991). P. phoxocephala resembles P. caprodes in snout shape, body form and coloration, but have dorsal vermiculations rather than saddles, an orange dorsal fin band, and lower scales and fin ray counts (Etnier and Starnes 1993). Hybridization with P. maculata has been documented (Page 1976), and Winn (1958a) observed several male logperch actively pursuing a female P. maculata; P. caprodes also hybridizes with other darters including P. phoxocephala and P. shumardi (Page 1976; Etnier and Starnes 1993). Hubbs and Strawn (1957) studied artificially produced hybrids between P. caprodes and Etheostoma spectabile and stated that no fertility is known in this hybrid and it is not expected; natural hybrid between these two species has been collected (Hubbs et al.1988). Hybrids between P. caprodes and P. sciera collected from the San Gabriel River, Georgetown, Texas (Hubbs and Laritz 1961).


Host Records



Commercial or Environmental Importance

Henderson (1960) suggested the food intake of Percina caprodes could be of commercial value concerning control of Simuliidae and Chiromidae larvae, which constitute over 60% of the volume of its food.


[Additional literature noting collection of this species from Texas locations includes, but is not limited to the following: Hubbs (1958); Hubbs (1957); Matthews et al. (1996).]



Beitenger, T.L., and M.J. Pettit. 1984. Comparison of low oxygen avoidance in a bimodal brether, Erpetoichthys calabaricus and an obligate water breather, Percina caprodes. Environmental Biology of Fishes 11(3):235-240.

Cook. F. A. 1959. Freshwater fishes in Mississippi. Mississippi Fame and Fish Commission, Jackson.

Cooper, J.E. 1978. Eggs and larvae of the logperch, Percina caprodes (Rafinesque). American Midland Naturalist 99:257-269.

Etnier, D.A., and W.C. Starnes. 1993. The Fishes of Tennessee. The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville. 681 pp.

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.

Grizzle, J.M., and M.R. Curd. 1978. Posthatching histological development of the digestive system and swim bladder of logperch, Percina caprodes. Copeia 1978(3):448-455.

Henderson, G.G., Jr. 1960. Stomach contents of central Texas specimens of Percina caprodes. M.A. Thesis, The University of Texas. 44 pp.

Hubbs, C. 1957. Distributional patterns of Texas fresh-water fishes. The Southwestern Naturalist 2(2/3):89-104.

Hubbs, C. 1958. Geographic variations in egg complements of Percina caprodes and Etheostoma spectabile. Copeia 1958(2):102-105.

Hubbs, C., and C.M. Laritz. 1961. Natural hybridization between Hadropterus scierus and Percina caprodes. The Southwestern Naturalist 6(3/4):188-192.

Hubbs, C., F.B. Cross, F. Stevens. 1988. Occurrence of natural hybrids between Etheostoma and Percina. The Southwestern Naturalist 33(1):97-99.

Hubbs, C., and K. Strawn. 1957. Relative variability of hybrids between the darters, Etheostoma spectabile and Percina caprodes. Evolution 11(1):1-10.

Hubbs, C., and K. Strawn. 1963. Differences in the developmental temperature tolerance of Central Texas and more northern stocks of Percina caprodes (Percidae: Osteichthyes). The Southwestern Naturalist 8(1):43-56.

Hubbs, C., R. J. Edwards, G. P. Garrett.  1991.  An annotated checklist of the freshwater fishes of Texas, with keys to identification of species. The Texas Journal of Science, Supplement, 43(4):1-56

Hubbs, C. L. 1985. Darter reproductive seasons. Copeia 1985(1):56-68.

Keast, A., and D. Webb. 1966. Mouth and body form relative to feeding ecology in the fish fauna of a small lake, Lake Opinicon, Ontario. J. Fish. Red. Bd. Can. 23(12):1845-1874.

Lutterbie, G. W. 1979. Reproduction and age and growth in Wisconsin darters (Ostiechthyes: Percidae). Rept. Fauna and Flora Wisc. 15:1-44.

Manion, P.J. 1968. Production of sea lamprey larvae from nests in two Lake Superior streams. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 97(4):484-486.

Matthews, W.J., M.S. Schorrs, and M.R. Measdor. 1996. Effects of experimentally enhanced flows on fishes of a small Texas (U.S.A.) stream: assessing the impact of interbasin transfer. Freshwater Biology 35:349-362.

Mullan, J.W., R.L. Applegate, and W.C. Rainwater. 1968. Food of logperch (Percina caprodes), and brook silverside (Labidesthes sicculus), in a new and old Ozark reservoir. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 97(3):300-305.

Page, L.M. 1976. Natural darter hybrids: Etheostoma gracile X Percina maculata, Percina caprodes X Percina maculata, and Percina phoxocephala X Percina maculata. Southwestern Naturalist 21(2):145-149.

Page, L.M. 1983. Handbook of Darters. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ. 271 pp.

Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr.  1991.  A Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes of North America, north of Mexico.  Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 432 pp.

Paine, M.D. 1984. Ecological and evolutionary consequences of early ontogenies of darters (Etheostomatini), pp. 21-30. In: Environmental Biology of Darters. D.G. Lindquist and L.M. Page, eds. Dr. D.W. Junk Publishers, The Hauge, Netherlands.

Pflieger, W. L.  1997.  The Fishes of Missouri.  Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, 372 pp.

Rafinesque, C. S. 1818. Discoveries in natural history, made during a journey through the western region of the United States. Amer. Monthly Mag. Crit. Rev. 3(5):354-356.

Ross, S. T. 2001. The Inland Fishes of Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi. 624 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.

Thomas, D. L. 1970. An ecological study of four darters of the genus Percina (Percidae) in the Kaskaskia River, Illinois. Ill. Nat. Hist. Surv., Biol. Notes 10:1-18.

Thompson, B.A. 1980. Percina caprodes (Rafinesque), Logperch. pp. 719 in D.S. Lee et al. Atlas of North American Freshwater Fishes. N.C. State Mus. Nat. Hist., Raleigh, i-r+854 pp

Turner, C.L. 1921. Food of the common Ohio darters. Ohio Journal of Science 22:41-62.

Winn, H. E. 1958a. Observations of the reproductive traits of darters (Pisces: Percidae). American Midland Naturalist. 59(1):190-212.

Winn, H.E. 1958b. Comparative reproductive behavior and ecology of fourteen species of darters (Pisces: Percidae). Ecol. Monogr. 28(2):155-191.

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.