These fish can be found in densely vegetated areas, places with woody debris, and underneath banks in root masses. Debris in deep water with undercut banks and slow inside flows are used more by this species.
Invertivore/carnivore; feeding on small aquatic insects and small fish
Breeding occurs from October to December in Florida and in Louisiana as early as February. Most breeding occurs around early April until May, depending on latitude.
Range (Where Found)
The pirate perch is a freshwater species in temperate climates with a temperature ranging from 5–26̊C. They are found most commonly in central and eastern North America. The pirate perch occurs in rivers of the Atlantic and Gulf slopes, the Mississippi Valley, and scattered parts of the eastern Great Lakes Basin. Pirate perch had once occurred in Pennsylvania, but has since been extirpated due to the effects of urbanization. Its geographic range is very limited in the United States, and the creation of dams and the increasing effects of urbanization are restricting the overall habitat size for the fish, which could eventually lead to this species becoming extirpated in some areas.
Unique Features, Facts, and Characteristics
- A unique feature of this fish is the forward placement of its cloaca, under the head, anterior to the pelvic fins. This placement allows the females to place their eggs more precisely into root masses.
- Pirate perch may be the only known animal to exhibit a chemical camouflage , or crypsis that is generalized and effective among a wide number of potential prey species.
- Maximum longevity is 4 years