Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin
Sunfish family - centrarchidae, pp. 799-868 PDF (36.6 MB)
Sunfish Family- Centrarchidae Eleven species of centrarchids in four genera are known from Wiscon- sin. In the United States and Canada, 32 species in 9 genera are known. According to Miller (1959), the Centrarchidae probably arose from some specialized serranid progenitor which invaded fresh water during or be- fore the Eocene period. The hypothetical primitive centrarchid probably was a free-swimming inhabitant of lowland waters, with a shape and size comparable to that of Ambloplites. From the distribution of present species and of species and genera known only as fossils, it would ap- pear that the centrarchid center of origin was located in the Mississippi Valley (Branson and Moore 1962). By the beginning of the Pleistocene many of the extant genera, and some that disappeared before the close of that period, were in existence. The sunfishes are typically spiny-rayed fishes, with 6-13 spines in the anterior dorsal fin, and 3-9 spines in the anterior part of the anal fin. The spinous and soft-rayed dorsal fins are generally joined as one fin. The fish are for the most part deep bodied and strongly compressed lat- erally. Fine teeth appear in brushlike bands on both the upper and lower jaws, and the lower pharyngeal arches broaden into pads bearing conical or molarlike teeth ("throat-teeth"). The swim bladder is isolated from the esophagus (physoclistous condition). The pectoral fins are moderately high on the body, and the pelvic fins are located almost directly below them and slightly posteriorly. The caudal fin is notched or slightly forked. All sunfish species tend to be nest builders, although occasionally some species use the nests of other fishes that have already spawned. 799
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