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Family: Percidae

Perches include several game fish, such as walleye, sauger and yellow perch. It also includes many species of small, often brightly-colored, stream-dwelling fish collectively known as darters. All are similar in appearance, except for their size. They have spiny and ray-fin dorsal fins. The initial elements in their anal fins are also spines. Scales are rough to the touch and their bodies are almost completely scaled.

Perches are north temperate fishes found in Asia, Europe and North America. Darters, however, are strictly North American. Walleye, sauger and yellow perch are primarily lake-dwelling fish that also occur in larger streams. Darters are associated with streams, but are found in ponds and lakes on occasion. Many of the species have relatively small native ranges. They are found throughout New York. Both the game fish and some of the darters have been stocked outside of their native ranges. However, all 21 species present in the state are native to at least one drainage in the state. Many of the darters are rare, and some are protected. Sauger has declined in the last several decades. Blue pike, once commercially important, is likely extinct.

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