Information from Fishes of the Chesapeake Bay

 White perch - Morone americana


white perch

Diagnostic characters: Body rather short, deep, and compressed; dorsal fins connected by low membrane; anal fin with 8-10 soft rays; second and third spines of anal fin of approximately same length. Head low; snout pointed; mouth large and terminal; teeth small, pointed, an din bands on jaws; teeth absent on base of tongue; scales strongly ctenoid; spines of dorsal fins large and strong; first dorsal fins large and strong; first dorsal fin with 7-11 spines; second dorsal fin with 1 spine and 10-13 soft rays; caudal fin slightly forked; anal fin with 3 strong spines; pelvic fin large, inserting slightly ventroposterior to pectoral fin origin; pectoral and pelvic fins of similar size and shape. coloration variable; body mostly silvery; often greenish to bluish and blackish dorsally; sometimes brassy laterally; frequently with irregular dusky longitudinal lines; pelvic fin sometimes white.

Size: Maximum adult size 48 cm TL

Habitat, biology,and fisheries: Abundant year-round resident found in all tributaries of Chesapeake Bay. From spring through autumn the white perch is present on flats and in channel, and it retreats to deep channels in winter. White perch are ubiquitous in estuaries and freshwater ecosystems, living in waters ranging in salinity from zero to full-strength seawater, but they usually inhabit waters of less than 18 ppt salinity. Semianadromous spawning migrations. White perch are predaceous carnivores whose diet changes with age and habitat. Juveniles feed on aquatic insects and small crustaceans, whereas larger white perch prey on crabs, shrimps and small fishes. Among the most important recreational an commercial fishes in Chesapeake Bay, especially in MD waters.

Distribution: Known from Nova Scotia to South Carolina but most abundant from Hudson River to Chesapeake Bay.