The Life of a Perch

Virtual Dissection Lab

Perca flavescens

The yellow perch aka Perca flavescens is a freshwater fish that resides in north america. It is characterized by two dorsal fins on either side of its body with yellow sides and black stripes on the sides. It is a very important source of money and food in the Great Lakes Region because it is so common to find there. Perch sizes range from 4-18 inches,and their weights 4-10 ounces. The body of the perch is somewhat flattened.


Students will be learning about the external and internal anatomy of a perch. By disecting the perch , the students will learn more about the organs specific to the circulatory system and their functions. Students will also learn about how a perch contributes to its ecosystem.

Background Info!

Perch Dissection

Bony Fish (Perch) Anatomy

circulatory System

The perch's circulatory system is quite crucial. It is made up of 2 chambered heart, gills, venule, vein, atrium ventricle, arteries, capillaries, arteriole, heart, and capillary beds. The function of the circulatory system is to oxygenate blood and send it back to the heart through the gills. During this time, the blood is distributed throughout the Perch's body through the single circuit. The circulatory system of the perch works with the digestive system. After the small intestines absorb nutrient from food, the nutrients are transfered to the liver. Then, the liver gives the nutrients into the bloodstream that distributes it the rest of the body.


symbiotic relationships

Perch and walleyes have a symbiotic relationship, they both may eat each other.

trophic level

Perch are on the 2nd and 3rd trophic levels as they feed on both herbivores and carnivores.

population dynamics

The population of perch fluctuates along with the cleanness of the Great Lakes region. Recently, the population has been decreasing due to the ongoing pollution of the lakes from factories and waste. Below is an article about perch populations in the Missouri River and how they've changed over time that you might find interesting!
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human impacts on perch

Read the following article for info on how dumping human waste into lakes where perch resides affected them.


environmental responses

A severe example of a perch's response to environmental changes is the blue pike (perch). This species of perch was very common in Lake Erie once. However, in the early 1900s, overfishing, predation, and mostly pollution led to the perch's extinction.

Read the following article for more information on how climate change could affect the yellow perch.

Facts about Perchs you Probably did Not Know!

  • The perch's method for spawning is interesting. The female perch lays her eggs in long strands that are floating or hanging from structures.
  • The yellow perch are found in 13,000 acres of ponds and lakes
  • The largest perch ever recorded weighed 3 lbs, 5 oz and was caught in a pond in Maryland.
  • They are the must abundant fish species in Chesapeake Bay
  • They are very closely related to the striped bass

Map of most Common Perch Locations

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My Experience

Dissecting a perch was both fun and a great learning experience. Hands-on dissection allowed me to clearly see the external and internal anatomy. It was very exciting and I learned much about the perch's organs and their functions.

Below are some pictures from the perch dissection we did in class:

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Feel like you know more now? pLAY THIS FUN GAME!