Redfin, Perca fluviatilis Linnaeus 1758

Other Names: English Perch, European Perch, Reddie, Redfin Perch

Redfin, Perca fluviatilis. Source: Gunther Schmida / License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0

An olive-green to greyish perch, becoming paler below, with 5-6 broad dark tapering bands along the sides (more pronounced in juveniles), and bright red to reddish-orange pelvic, anal and outer parts of the caudal fin. 
Redfin are relatively deep-bodied with a slightly forked tail, two separate dorsal fins and a large mouth which reaches to under the eye.
The species, a native of Europe, was introduced to Tasmania between 1858 and 1862, and to Victoria in 1861. Although popular with recreational anglers, these voracious predators consume small native fishes, and the young of larger native species.

Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2024, Perca fluviatilis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024,

Redfin, Perca fluviatilis Linnaeus 1758

More Info


Introduced from Europe to most southern states from the MacIntyre River drainage, New South Wales, to the Avon River drainage, Western Australia, and Tasmania. Redfin Perch were first introduced to Tasmania between 1858 and 1862, and to Victoria in 1861.

Inhabits freshwater lakes, dams, billabongs, swamps and the slower-flowing reaches of rivers and streams. Redfin prefer abundant aquatic vegetation or other cover such as rocks and fallen timber. They avoid fast-flowing waters and are absent from high-altitude areas. Their optimum temperature range is 8-27°C.


Dorsal fin Xlll-XVII; I-II, 13-16; Anal fin II, 8-10; Pectoral fin 11-14; Pelvic fin I,5; Lateral line scales 58-68. 

Body elongate-oval, moderately deep, robust, compressed; becoming deeper with increase in size, large fish with distinct hump-backed appearance. Dorsal profile above and behind eye concave, from nape backwards strongly convex; ventral profile flattened to slightly convex. Caudal peduncle long, slender. Head large, snout rounded. Eye of moderate size, situated high on head near dorsal profile. Mouth terminal, ventral in position, protrusible, quite large; gape extending back to below middle of eye. Jaws equal; with broad bands of small teeth. Operculum ends in a strong, broad, flat spine.

Body covered in moderate-sized ctenoid scales that extend forward to nape, opercula, cheeks; scales thick, hard, well embedded. Lateral line unbroken, conspicuous, follows dorsal profile. 

Two narrowly-separated dorsal fins, first spiny, long-based, high, rounded; second smaller, soft-rayed. Anal fin opposite, similar to, but slightly smaller than second dorsal fin. Pectoral fins small, rounded to slightly elongate, positioned low on sides, just below opercular spine. Pelvic fins small, rounded, thoracic. Caudal fin relatively small, slightly forked; tips rounded.


Reaches 60 cm and 10.4 kg; more commonly 1-3 kg.


Greenish-yellow to brown, often with blue hue, dorsally; lighter greenish to silvery laterally, white ventrally; 6 dark, vertical bars along sides; bars broadest, often bifurcated, on dorsal surface, becoming narrower ventrally. Dorsal fins greyish-green, first with prominent black spot on posterior margin; pectoral fins colourless to greyish-pink; anal and pelvic fins red to orange; caudal fin greyish to reddish.


Adults feed on crustaceans (such as atyid shrimps, yabbies and freshwater crayfish), insect larvae and small fishes such as gudgeons, smelt, pygmy perch and juveniles of larger native species. Juvenile Redfin consume zooplankton, particularly small crustaceans such as copepods and cladocerans, and smaller fishes.


Spawns at night during late winter to early spring, when water temperatures reach 11-12°C. Females shed all their eggs amongst aquatic vegetation during a single spawning event. The eggs are laid amongst aquatic vegetation or onto submerged timber in long gelatinous ribbons or strands. Fecundity is high, with up to 200,000 eggs per female. The egg strands have numerous small openings through which water circulates. Eggs about 2.0-2.5 mm in diameter and are surrounded by thick mucous membrane. 

The time between spawning and hatching of the larvae varies considerably depending on water temperature. Larvae may hatch after 7-8 days at 14-19°C, or may take 2-3 weeks to hatch at temperatures of 8-9°C. The newly-hatched larvae are 5-8 mm long, and consume the yolk sac after several days. The fry then begin to feeding on zooplankton and disperse through the upper water column. At a length of 15-20 mm, the young perch usually gather in large schools in shallow water near the shore.

Redfin usually mature after 2-3 years, although males may mature earlier, and live to a maximum age about 10-12 years.


Although popular with recreational anglers, these introduced predators are not good for native fishes. Redfin compete for food and space with Murray Cod and Golden Perch and have been implicated in the decline of Macquarie Perch. In Western Australia, they have been implicated in the local extinction of Galaxiella munda. They also prey on newly stocked trout.

Unfortunately, Redfin have been introduced into new areas by recreational anglers, thus further threatening native fish populations.

Species Citation

Perca fluviatilis Linnaeus 1758, Systema Naturae: 289. Type locality: Europe.


Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2024


Atlas of Living Australia

Redfin, Perca fluviatilis Linnaeus 1758


Allen, G.R. 1982. Inland Fishes of Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 86 pp. 6 figs 20 pls.

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Arthington, A. & McKenzie, F. 1997. Review of Impacts of Displaced/Introduced Fauna Associated with Inland Waters. State of the Environment Technical Paper Series (Inland Waters). Department of the Environment : Canberra. 69 pp.

Cadwallader, P.L. & Backhouse, G.N. 1983. A Guide to the Freshwater Fish of Victoria. Melbourne : F.D. Atkinson Government Printer 249 pp. figs.

Corfield, J., Diggles, B., Jubb, C., McDowall, R.M., Moore, A., Richards, A. & Rowe, D.K. 2008. Review of the impacts of introduced ornamental fish species that have established wild populations in Australia. Prepared for the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. 277 pp.

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.

Hutchison, M.J. & Armstrong, P.H. 1993. The invasion of a south-western Australian river system by Perca fluviatilis: History and probable causes. Global Ecology and Biogeography Letters 3(3): 77–89.

Koehn, J.D. & Mackenzie, R.F. 2004. Priority management actions for alien freshwater fish species in Australia. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38: 457-472.

Kuiter, R.H. 2018. Pictorial guide to Victoria's freshwater fishes. E-version Part 1. Seaford, Victoria, Australia : Aquatic Photographics, 1-110.

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna tria Naturae, secundem Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentis, Synonymis, Locis. Tom.1 Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii 824 pp. See ref at BHL

Lintermans, M. 2004. Human-assisted dispersal of alien freshwater fish in Australia. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38(3): 481-501.

Lintermans, M. 2007. Fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin - An Introductory Guide. Canberra : Murray-Darling Basin Commission 157 pp. [MDBC Publication Number 10/07]

Lintermans, M., Raadik, T., Morgan, D. & Jackson, P. 2008. Overview of the ecology and impact of three alien fish species: Redfin perch, Mozambique mouthbrooder (Tilapia) and Oriental weatherloach. pp. 22-32 in Ansell, D. & Jackson, P. (eds) Emerging issues in alien fish management in the Murray–Darling Basin: statement, recommendations and supporting papers. Proceedings of a workshop held in Brisbane QLD, 30–31 May 2006, Publication No: 16/07, Murray–Darling Basin Commission, Canberra.

McDowall, R.M. (ed.) 1980. Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed 208 pp., figs, 32 pls.

McDowall, R.M. 1996. Family Percidae. pp. 183-185 in McDowall, R.M. (ed.).Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Sydney : Reed Books 247 pp.

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management. Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp. figs 280 col. figs.

Morgan, D.L., Gill, H.S., Maddern, M.G. & Beatty, S.J. 2004. Distribution and impacts of introduced freshwater fishes in Western Australia. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38: 511-523.

Morgan, D.L., Gill, H.S. & Potter, I.C. 1998.  Distribution, identification and biology of freshwater fishes in south-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Suppl. No. 56: 1-97. See ref online

Pen, L.J. & Potter, I.C. 1992. Seasonal and size-related changes in the diet of perch, Perca fluviatilis L., in the shallows of an Australian river, and their implications for the conservation of indigenous teleosts. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 2: 243-253.

Prokop, F. 2002. Australian Fish Guide. Croydon South, Victoria : Australian Fishing Network 256 pp.

Roberts, C.D. & McDowall, R.M. 2015. 170 Family Percidae, pp. 1214-1215 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748.

Wedderburn, S.D. & Barnes, T.C. 2016. Piscivory by alien redfin perch (Perca fluviatilis) begins earlier than anticipated in two contrasting habitats of Lake Alexandrina, South Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 64: 1-7.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37329001

Fishing:Popular angling fish

Max Size:60 cm; 10.4 kg

Max weight:Quiet freshwaters


Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map