D. S. Jordan & C. H. Eigenmann, 1890
The members of the family Percichthyidae are known as the temperate perches. They belong to the order Perciformes, the perch-like fishes.
The name Percichthyidae derives from the Ancient Greek words perca for perch and ichthyos for fish and means perch-like fishes.
The temperate perches are closely related to the temperate basses of the family Moronidae, and older literature treats the latter as belonging to the Percichthyidae family. Australian freshwater percichthyids were once placed in the marine grouper family, Serranidae, and the two families are thought to be closely related.
Almost 40 species of percichthyids are now recognised, grouped in 10 genera. Most but not all are exclusively freshwater fishes. They are mainly found in Australia, but species are also found in southern South America (Percichthys) and eastern Asia (Coreoperca and Siniperca).
Australia has the greatest number of percichthyid species, where they are represented by the Australian freshwater cods (Maccullochella spp.), which are Murray cod, Mary River cod, eastern freshwater cod, and trout cod, by the Australian freshwater blackfishes (Gadopsis spp.), which are river blackfish and two-spined blackfish, and by the Australian freshwater perches which are golden perch, Macquarie perch (Macquaria spp.), and Australian bass, and estuary perch (Percalates spp.).
Several other Australian freshwater species also sit within the Percichthyidae family, while research using mitochondrial DNA suggests the species of the Nannopercidae family are in reality percichthyids, as well. Australia is unique in having a freshwater fish fauna dominated by percichthyids and allied families/species. This in contrast to Europe and Asia, whose fish faunas are dominated by members of the Cyprinidae carp family. (Australia does not have a single naturally occurring cyprinid species; unfortunately, the illegal introduction of carp has now established the family's presence in Australia.)
Only three genera occur outside Australia: Coreoperca and Siniperca in eastern Asia, and Percichthys in southern South America.
A number of species are or have been important food species; some of these (e.g. the Murray cod, Maccullochella peelii peelii) have become threatened through overfishing and river regulation, while others (e.g. the Chinese perch, Siniperca chuatsi), are now farmed to some extent. Some smaller species (e.g. Balston's pygmy perch, Nannatherina balstoni) are popular in aquaria.
- "Percichthyidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
- Sepkoski, Jack (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology 364: 560. Retrieved 2011-05-19.
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