Peering into Perch

Vu-PreAP Bio- 2___ March 23,2014- Taryn Tsujimoto

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A Dive into the Perch's Underwater Life

The perch. The Perca flavescens. Living in very vegetated ponds, lakes, and streams, the perch feed on insect larvae, small fish, and crustaceans and are hunted by birds, such as eagles and double-crested cormorants, and by other large fish, like bass and laketrout. Perch school in deep waters and migrate to shallow waters to spawn in early spring when females have as many as 40,000 eggs which the males fertilize. The eggs hatch about 3 weeks later without the parents' company, and the newborns stay in very vegetated and shallow water eating plankton until they get bigger to explore the world. Males mature after 1 to 2 years, females mature after 2 to 3 years, and can live up to 13 years.

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Above is the perch I dissected during class. We did not get to cut open and see the contents of the stomach because we were having trouble cutting the fish open.
Perch Dissection.wmv


  • Students will understand the internal and external anatomy of a perch.

How the Perch Survive

With specialized teeth on their palatines; yellow and green color body and dark vertical bands on the sides and back; and an elongated and streamlined body helped the Perca flavescens survive the tough world. Their brushlike teeth allow the perch to eat their prey easily even without canines. The colors of the perch depend on the clarity of the water and age, so less vegetation means a less intense yellow color, and the bands mimic the shadows cast from the aquatic plants giving the perch a better way to stay out of sight from its predators. And watch out for the fins! The two dorsal fins have sharp, stiff spines that will stab whatever animal that comes to attack it, and the perch can get away with its streamlined body, surviving yet another day.

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Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Osteichthyes

Order: Perciformes

Family: Percidae

Genus: Perca

Species: Flavescens

Had Fish Lately?

The yellow perch are desired among humans for their flavor. Fishermen favor the yellow perch because the fish come in large numbers and are easy to catch when they fall for the bait.

Perch are also a common sport and commercial fish in Lake Erie where the population is steady around 50 million perch for the last decade.

Fun Facts

  • Yellow perch are poor swimmers and cannot accelerate quickly.
  • The eggs are long rods.
  • The perch can grow to be 16 inches and weigh 2 pounds.

The Circulatory System

The yellow perch have a 2-chambered heart that pumps through a single loop. Deoxygenated blood is collected in the auricle, passes through a valve to the ventricle, pumped to the gills where the blood becomes oxygenated and is then pumped through the rest of the body before returning to the heart. The perch's circulatory system consists of these organs: the heart, gills, swim bladder, and spleen.
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