Temporal range: Middle Miocene to Recent
|Flier (Centrarchus macropterus)|
The sunfishes are a family (Centrarchidae) of freshwater ray-finned fish belonging to the order Perciformes. The type genus is Centrarchus (consisting solely of the flier, C. macropterus). The family's 27 species include many fishes familiar to North Americans, including the rock bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and crappies. All are native only to North America.
Family members are distinguished by having at least three anal spines. The dorsal spines are 5–13 in number, but most species have 10–12. The pseudobranch is small and concealed. Sizes of most are in the 20 centimetres (7.9 in) to 30 centimetres (12 in) range. However, some are much smaller, with the blackbanded sunfish at just 8 centimetres (3.1 in) in length, while the largemouth bass is reported to reach almost 1 metre (3.3 ft) in extreme cases.
The male of most species builds a nest by hollowing out a depression using his tail, then guards the eggs.
Fossil record 
- family Centrarchidae
- Johnson, G.D. & Gill, A.C. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N., ed. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 187. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.
- Roe, Kevin J., Phillip M. Harris, and Richard L. Mayden (2002). "Phylogenetic Relationships of the Genera of North American Sunfishes and Basses (Percoidei: Centrarchidae) as Evidenced by the Mitochondrial Cytochrome b Gene" (PDF). In Schaefer, S. A. Copeia 2002 (4): 897‒905. doi:10.1643/0045-8511(2002)002[0897:PROTGO]2.0.CO;2.
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2004). "Centrarchidae" in FishBase. October 2004 version.
- "Centrarchidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 5 December 2004.
- German Website about Sunfishes and Basses www.sonnenbarsche.info