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White Perch Morone americana


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White Perch
credit: NOAA

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Family: Percichthyidae, Temperate Basses view all from this family

Description The white perch, Morone americana, is not a true perch but is, rather, a fish of the temperate bass family, Moronidae, notable as a food and game fish in eastern North America.

The name "white perch" is sometimes erroneously applied to the white crappie.

Generally silvery-white in color, hence the name, depending upon habitat and size specimens have begun to develop a darker shade near the dorsal fin and along the top of the fish. This sometimes earns them the nickname "Black-Back." White perch have been reported up to 49.5 cm (19.5 in.) in length and weighing 2.2 kg (4.8 lbs.).

Although favoring brackish waters, it is also found in fresh water and coastal areas from the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario south to the Pee Dee River in North Carolina, and as far east as Nova Scotia.

There are commercial fisheries for white perch in the lower Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay. The raw meat is of a somewhat pinkish hue, but when cooked, it is white and flaky. At times, a parasite known as Lironeca ovalis is located in the gills. They are only known to reduce the growing rate of white perch.

Dimensions Up to 19" (48 cm); 4 3/4 lbs (2.2 kg).

Habitat Estuaries, tidal flats & salt marshes, Ocean or bay shallows.

Range Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Florida, Eastern Canada.