Silver Perch

Scientific name

Bidyanus bidyanus

CharacteristicsHow to identify a Silver Perch

The Silver Perch is a moderate to large, oval-shaped freshwater fish. Distinguishing features include:

  1. Small head and mouth
  2. Grey to green in colour, sometimes gold or silvery, darker on the back and paler on the sides. Juveniles may be mottled with vertical dark bar
  3. A single dorsal fin
  4. White belly
  5. Slightly forked tail

Species similar in appearance

Silver Perch closely resemble two other terapontid species found in adjoining drainages of the Murray-Darling system. These are the Welch's Grunter (Bidyanus welchi) and the Barcoo Grunter (Scortum barcoo).

Size

Silver Perch usually reach 30-40 cm and 0.5-1.5 kg, but have been recorded up to 8 kg.

A juvenile Silver Perch (Photo: D. Gilligan)

Distribution

Silver Perch were once widespread and abundant throughout most of the Murray-Darling river system. They have now declined to low numbers or disappeared from most of their former range. Only one remaining secure and self sustaining population occurs in NSW in the central Murray River downstream of Yarrawonga weir, as well as several anabranches and tributaries.


Habitat

Silver Perch have been found in a wide range of habitats and climates across the Murray-Darling Basin. They are generally found in faster-flowing water including rapids and races and more open sections of river. Spawning and recruitment success are both considered to be heavily dependent on high flows and overbank flooding.

Silver Perch habitat

Why is the Silver Perch threatened?

  • Modification of natural river flows and temperature regimes due to the construction of dams and weirs.
  • Removal of riparian vegetation which increases erosion and siltation
  • Loss of submerged macrophyte beds which are important sits for feeding at all life stages
  • Competition from introduced species such as Carp, Redfin Perch and Gambusia
  • Historic overfishing and illegal fishing practices
Silver Perch

More information

Watch a YouTube video of Silver Perch in NSW, 2017 (48 secs)

Watch a short video of Silver Perch stocking in the Namoi River - April 2017 (25 secs)