Logperch have a unique tiger-like color pattern that distinguishes them from other rough-belly darters. Logperch have a pale-yellow base color, with narrow bars on the side and back. The head and snout are cone-shaped for turning stones and sand. Logperch males and females look alike and both reach a maximum length of 15 to 18 centimeters. During spawning males can develop alternate coloring to help attract females. Like all perches, logperch have two, separate dorsal fins, the first is spiny and the second is soft. They also have one to two anal spines and an opercular spine.
Logperch are found in North America as far north as the St. Lawrence River, Hudson Bay, and the Great Lakes. They are found in the Mississippi River basin as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. Logperch are rarely found in rivers and streams west of the Mississippi, but are common in rivers and streams east of the Mississippi to the Atlantic Ocean. (Page and Burr, 1991)
Logperch are found along the bottom of shallow rivers and creeks. They can also be found in large rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Logperch prefer fast-moving water and can be found among the sand and gravel. Logperch lay their eggs in sand in lake shallows, or in gravel or sand in swift currents. (Page, 1983)
Logperch eggs hatch in 7 to 8 days, depending on the temperature at which they develop. Newly hatched logperch look just like small adults. They are ready to reproduce at about 2 years old.
Logperch spawn in the open water and then scatter their eggs over the bottom of rivers and streams. The eggs aren't guarded by either parent, although females bury the eggs after they are scattered. Hiding the eggs helps protect against predators, such as other fish species, crayfishes, and aquatic insects. Logperch males compete to mate with females. They develop a colorful orange band along their first dorsal fin during the mating season.
Logperch spawn in the warm months of spring and summer in shallow freshwater streams and ponds, often in swiftly moving water such as riffles. Eggs are laid in sand or gravel by females then fertilized by males. Females give birth to thousands of eggs at at time.
Once the logperch eggs are laid and buried by the female, the parents don't help the young any further.
Logperch usually live 3 to 4 years.
Logperch, like all perch, are not schooling fish. Instead, logperch can be found either traveling alone or in small groups. They forage along long stretches of river or streambed for food. Logperch have a foraging behavior that makes them unique, compared to other darters: the ability to use their conical snouts and heads to flip stones and sand in search of food. Researchers are not sure how early this foraging behavior develops, but it is present in all juveniles. Adult logperch may flip 7 to 10 stones per minute. During the breeding season males become brilliantly colored. Unlike many darters, especially those in the genus Etheostoma, male logperches do not develop bright, gaudy colors. Instead, male logperch bear an orange band along the first dorsal fin margin.
Logperch have been recorded traveling about 1.6 kilometers along streams while foraging.
Males and females use visual cues when deciding whether to mate; females look at the male's bright color. Logperch also have a lateral line system that helps them detect water movement. Like most other fish, they have good eyesight and can detect chemicals in the water.
Young logperch eat mainly small aquatic crustaceans and zooplankton, including rotifers, copepods, and waterfleas. As they grow, logperch eat a larger variety of small aquatic creatures, including aquatic insects (especially mayflies and midge larvae), but also young snails, waterfleas, leeches, and fish eggs (including their own).
Logperch play a vital role in the food chains of lakes and streams. They are food for larger, fish-eating fish and birds that hunt in shallow water. Their tiger-like coloring camouflages them in the shallow streams they live in.
Logperch are a vital part of stream, river, and lake ecosystems by providing food for larger, fish-eating fish. They feed on aquatic insects. Logperch are also a good indicators of ecological quality in a given area. Low numbers of logperch can indicate poor water quality or insufficient insect prey.
This species does not adversely affect humans.
Logperch have no special status as endangered or otherwise.
Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
William Spalding (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Kevin Wehrly (editor, instructor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Bart, H., L. Page. 1992. The influence of size and phylogeny on life history variation in North American percids.. Stanford, Calfiornia: Stanford Univ. Press.
Becker, G. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin.. Madison, Wisconsin: Univ. Wisconsin Press.
Burkhead, N. 2005. "FISC - Center for Aquatic Resource Studies" (On-line). Accessed October 14, 2005 at http://cars.er.usgs.gov/Southeastern_Aquatic_Fauna/Freshwater_Fishes/Logperch/logperch.html.
Hatch, J. 1983. Comparative Growth, Reproduction, Habitat and Food Utilization of Darters of the St. Croix River Drainage.. Minnesota: MN DNR, Section of Wildlife, Nongame Research Program.
Hubbs, C. 1985. DARTER REPRODUCTIVE SEASONS. COPEIA, 1: 56-68.
Page, L. 1983. Handbook of Darters. Neptune City, New Jersey: T. F. H. Pub., Inc..
Page, L., B. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico.. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Platania, S. 1990. Reports and verified occurrence of logperches (PERCINA CAPRODES) and PERCINA MACROLEPIDA) in Colorado.. Southwestern Naturalist, 35: 87-88.