Centrarchidae - sunfishes

The sunfishes are a family of freshwater fishes native only to North America. They are generally deep bodied and laterally compressed. All have 6-13 spines in their dorsal fin and at least 3 spines in their anal fin. The placement of their pectoral and pelvic fins near the front of their bodies allow them to make short movements and frequent turns rather than cruising quickly through the water. They are territorial, and usually schools of fish can be found hanging around favorite spots such as vegetation, submerged logs, or overhanging banks. Most are nest builders. The male hollows out a depression in the substrate and guards the eggs and young fish until they are ready to leave the nest. Sunfishes hybridize easily and distinguishing between species may be difficult, especially in juveniles. Most are valued as sport fish. Rock bass, largemouth bass and crappies are included in the Centrarchidae family.