Pirate Perch

September 9, 2021

Pirate Perch

Pirate Perch

The Pirate Perch (Aphredoderus sayanus) is a freshwater fish in the Aphredoderus genus. Native to the United States. Related to the trout-perch and cavefish, but the only species in the Aphredoderidae family.

Description of the Pirate Perch

Pirate Perch

A small fish reaching up to 5.5 inches in length. Generally, their backs range from dark brown, olive, or black in color with darker bands near the base of the tail. While their sides become lighter, and their bellies seem yellowish.

Furthermore, their sides and backs may be thickly speckled with black. Meanwhile they have stout bodies, their cloaca placement seems uniquely far forward, occurring under their head and anterior to the pelvic fins.

Further has a single dorsal fin with ctenoid scales on their head and body, and a slightly notched tail fin. Their mouths are oblique and large with their lower jaw projecting forward.

Have numerous very small villiform teeth in bands occurring on their upper and lower jaws. While the gill cover has a sharp spine and the rear edge of the preopercle is strongly serrated.

The dorsal fin has 2 to 3 short spines with 10 to 11 rays. The anal fin has 2 to 3 spines and 6 to 7 rays. While the pelvic fin has a single spine with 6 rays. They have an incomplete lateral line consisting of 48 to 59 lateral series scales.

Biology of the Pirate Perch

Maintain a solitary existence seeking protection from plants and organic debris during daylight.


Found in freshwater habitats in temperate climates where water temperatures generally range between 41°F and 79°F. Commonly found in central and eastern North America. Further occurs in rivers of the Atlantic and Gulf slopes, the Mississippi Valley, and scattered parts of the eastern Great Lakes.

Management and Conservation

The geographic range of the Pirate Perch has become very limited in the Unites States due to the creation of dams and the increasing effects of urbanization which restricts their habitat and could possibly result in the species becoming extirpated in some areas such as has occurred in Pennsylvania.

Other threats to the fish’s habitat include siltation due to poor upland treatment, water pollution from agricultural runoff and discharge from urban areas. These may create environments unsuitable for the species to survive.

While Ohio have expressed some interest in conserving the species due to their small range, little concern has been shown to the species in general.

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