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Bonaparte [C. L.]
Pirate perch have a relatively large, terminal mouth. Body deepest anterior of dorsal fin. Single dorsal fin with 3-5 (usually 3-4) (2-3?) spines and 9-12 (usually 10-12) rays, anal fin with 2-3 spines and 5-7 (usually 6-7) rays; first spine in each of these median fins is small and difficult to detect. Pelvic fins with 6-8 rays, pectoral fins with 10-13 (usually 11-12) rays. Caudal fin slightly emarginate, lobes rounded, 16-19 (usually 18) principal rays. Prominent subocular bar. Serrated preopercle. Ctenoid scales on body. Cheek and opercle with scaled. Lateral line absent, incomplete, or complete, 38-60 scales in lateral series. Sensory system highly developed on underside of head and lower jaw (Moore and Burris 1956). Urogenital opening and anus located immediately in front of the anal fin insertion in juveniles, but migrate anteriorly as the fish matures, eventually resting in front of the pelvic fins in the thoracic region (Mansueti 1963 [ref. 27267], Jordan 1878 [ref. 10444]). Coloration of the body is brown, except portions of ventral surface between anal fin insertion to branchiostegal rays, which may be white or slightly yellow with scattered melanophores. Median fins dusky, those of males darker during the breeding season. The caudal fin of both sexes often has a white border on the posterior margin. Maximum size is about 144 mm (5.6 in). The Aphredoderidae is a monotypic family, containing only one extant species, <b><i>Aphredoderus sayanus </i></b> . The most recent taxonomic treatment of the species was by Boltz and Stauffer (1993 [ref. 20308]). ?? fossil species are presently included in the Aphredoderidae. Relationships of Aphredoderidae, which still remains enigmatic, have been studied by Murray and Wilson (1999 [ref. 27269]). Aphredoderidae has been grouped most often with the Amblyopsidae or the Percopsidae (Rosen 1962 [ref. 5403], Rosen 1985 [ref. 27270], Patterson and Rosen 1989 [ref. ], Murray and Wilson 1999 [ref. 27269]). Murray and Wilson (1999 [ref. 27269]) included both living and fossil taxa in their phylogenetic analyses. Further study is needed to determine the phylogenetic affinities of the Aphredoderidae. Aphredoderids are peculiar freshwater fish found in streams, rivers, and lakes of the eastern and central United States. <b><i>Aphredoderus sayanus </i></b> is not valued as a sport, commercial, or aquarium fish, although they are able to persist quite well in captivity. Pirate perch are usually nocturnal in their habits, and feed on small invertebrates and fishes. Anecdotal reports about reproductive activities have appeared over the past 150 years, but only recently was their unusual method of reproduction documented. Poly and Wetzel (2003 [ref. 26902]) observed the spawning act directly and named this type of reproduction <b><i>transbranchioral spawning </i></b> . Pirate perch spawn in the winter or spring, depending on latitude. Larvae are about ??-?? mm TL at hatching (unpubl. data).</i></b>
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