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The Perciformes, also called the Percomorphi or Acanthopteri, is one of the largest orders of vertebrates, containing about 40% of all bony fish. Perciformes means perch-like. They belong to the class of ray-finned fish and comprise over 7,000 species found in almost all aquatic environments. They are also the most variably sized order of vertebrates, ranging from the 7 millimeters (0.3 in) Schindleria brevipinguis to the 5 meters (16 ft) Makaira species. They first appeared and diversified in the Late Cretaceous.
Among well-known members of this group are cichlids, sunfish/bluegill, damselfish, bass, and of course perch.
The dorsal and anal fins are divided into anterior spiny and posterior soft-rayed portions, which may be partially or completely separated. The pelvic fins usually have one spine and up to five soft rays, positioned unusually far forward under the chin or under the belly. Scales are usually ctenoid, although sometimes they are cycloid or otherwise modified. Various technical characteristics further define the group.
Classification is controversial. As traditionally defined the Perciformes are almost certainly paraphyletic. Other orders that should possibly be included as suborders are the Scorpaeniformes, Tetraodontiformes, and Pleuronectiformes. Of the presently recognized suborders several may be paraphyletic as well.
These are grouped by suborder/superfamily, generally following the text Fishes of the World.