Pirate Perch

Pirate PerchPirate perch Aphredoderus sayanus.  The Pirate perch is a freshwater fish species that bears an odd anatomical characteristic: the fish’s urogenital pore and anus are located at the throat area, whereas most fish have their opening in immediately in front of the anal fin.  That anatomical character is shared with species of the closely related cave dwelling fishes which similarity contributed to the idea that Pirate perch were able to inhabit cave-like holes in river banks and excrete waste without leaving their refuge.   Recent laboratory experiments found however that the Pirate perch dwells among abundant aquatic vegetation.  This is another example of a fish species that recently reoccupied at least part of its former Ohio distribution, that being in the Auglaize River of the Maumee River drainage.  In 2011, after approximately 60 years during which it was apparent the species had disappeared from Ohio waters, our Fish Crew found a Pirate perch near the former localities.  However in this case it appears the reinvasion was not natural; instead apparently resulting from an effort by the Ohio Division of Wildlife to propagate and reintroduce the species from stock captured from the Tippecanoe River of Indiana. More information is available for the Pirate Perch from the Ohio Department of Natural Resource Species Guide.