The sunfishes are a family (Centrarchidae) of freshwater ray-finned fish belonging to the order Perciformes. The type genus is Centrarchus (consisting solely of the flier, C. macropterus). The family's 27 species includes many fishes familiar to North Americans, including the black basses, rock bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, and crappies. All are native only to North America.
Family members are distinguished by having at least three anal spines. The dorsal spines are 5–13 in number, but most species have 10–12. The pseudobranch is small and concealed. Sizes of most are in the 20–30 cm (8–12 in) range, but with the largemouth bass reported to reach almost one metre (just over three feet) in extreme cases.
The male of most species builds a nest by hollowing out a depression using his tail, then guards the eggs.
Most sunfishes are valued for sports fishing, and have been introduced in many areas outside their original ranges, sometimes becoming pests.
Recent genetic evidence suggests the following phylogeny of the centrarchid genera:
Phylogenetic Relationships and Historical Biogeography within the Enneacanthus Sunfishes (Perciformes: Centrarchidae)
Sep 10, 2008; The phylogenetic relationships within the Centrarchid genus Enneacanthus and the role of regional historical biogeography in...
Intergeneric Spawning between Captive Female Sacramento Perch (Archoplites Interruptus) and Male Rock Bass (Ambloplites Rupestrus), Teleostei: Centrarchidae
Oct 01, 2006; ABSTRACT.- The North American freshwater fish family centrarchidae is well known for extensive natural hybridization, but...
A Mitochondrial DNA Perspective on the Molecular Systematics of the Sunfish Genus Lepomis (Actinopterygii: Centrarchidae)
May 09, 2005; Complete mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b gene sequences from 56 specimens representing all 12 species of Lepomis were used to...