Centrarchid identification and natural history
The family Centrarchidae (Order: Perciformes) is one of the most diverse, widespread, and conspicuous fish families native to freshwater habitats of North America. Among endemic fish families of North America, only the North American catfish family (Ictaluridae) has more species. The family name, Centrarchidae, refers to the anal fin spines of species in the family, and the common name, sunfishes, to the bright breeding colors displayed by males of some species in the family. Because of their diversity, wide distribution, and economic value, some of the earliest taxonomic descriptions and natural history observations on North American freshwater fishes focused on the centrarchids (e.g., Linnaeus 1758; Lacepede 1801; Rafinesque 1820; Abbott 1870).