Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1973
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record: 1973
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record:

General Invasion History:

The Bigscale Logperch (Percina macrolepida) is native to Gulf of Mexico drainages from the Sabine River (Louisiana-Texas) to the Rio Grande (Texas-Mexico), with populations extending into Oklahoma and New Mexico. This is a fish of gravel runs and pools in small rivers (Page and Burr 1991). Bigscale Logperch have been introduced to non-native waters in 5 western states, largely with stocked gamefishes from Texas (USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018). In California, Bigscale Logperch have become widespread in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River basin, and the San Francisco estuary Delta (Dill and Cordone 1997; Moyle 2002).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the West Coast:

In 1953, Bigscale Logperch were transported to Beale Air Force Base, in Yuba County, California, with a shipment of Largemouth Bass and Bluegill from a Texas hatchery (Dill and Cordone 1997). They were first collected in 1958 in lakes on the base, and then identified as P. caprodes, since P. macrolepida was not described as a separate species until 1971. By 1972–1973, this fish had spread to many tributaries of the lower Sacamento, and was established in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Cohen and Carlton 1995; Dill and Cordone 1997). In freshwater regions of the Delta, Bigscale Logperch were present, but rare (0–1% of fish caught, Feyrer and Healey 2003; Brown and Michniuk 2007; Grimaldo et al. 2012). In the Bay watershed, they are established in Alameda and Coyote creeks, and the Petaluma River (Leidy 2007). Bigscale Logperch have been caught in small numbers in the brackish Suisun Marsh in 1979–1999 at salinities up to 4.2 PSU (Matern et al. 2002).

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

In addition to the Sacramento-San Joaquin watershed, the Bigscale Logperch have been introduced to scattered lakes and reservoirs in southern California, either with stocked fish or by the California Aqueduct System from the Delta (Swift et al. 1993). Introduced populations of Bigscale Logperch are also known in Oklahoma (1955), Colorado (1974), New Mexico (1990), and Arizona (2017) (USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018).


Bigscale Logperch (Percina macrolepida) is a small freshwater fish, but is one of the larger members of the North American genera of the family Percidae (Percina), Etheostoma, and others, known as Darters. Fishes of the family Percidae (Perches and Darters) have separate spiny and soft-rayed dorsal fins, ctenoid scales, and thoracic pelvic fins with one spine and 5 rays. Darters are small fishes specialized for epibenthic life, with slender bodies and a reduced (Percina) or absent (Etheostoma) swimbladder (Evans and Page 2003). Percina spp. have 2 anal spines, a complete lateral line, and scutes (ridged scales) on the midline of the breast and belly (Page and Burr 1991).

Some of the larger (100–180 mm) Percina spp. are known as 'Logperches' (Page and Burr 1991). They have pointed snouts extending beyond the upper jaw, a wide flat area between the eyes, and a dark spot at the base of the caudal fin. The Bigscale Logperch (Percina macrolepida) has scales on the nape, and on top of the head (absent in some other logperches and 77–70 lateral line scales), and reaches 95–110 mm. The fish is light olive above, fading to yellow below, with 15–20 dark bars along the side, and a clear or yellow spiny dorsal fin (Page and Burr 1991). In California, the introduced Bigscale Logperch is the only species of darter present (Moyle 2002).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Chordata
Subphylum:   Vertebrata
Superclass:   Osteichthyes
Class:   Actinopterygii
Subclass:   Neopterygii
Infraclass:   Teleostei
Superorder:   Acanthopterygii
Order:   Perciformes
Suborder:   Percoidei
Family:   Percidae
Genus:   Percina
Species:   macrolepida


Potentially Misidentified Species

Percina caprodes
The Logperch (Percina caprodes has a broad range, in the Mississippi-Great Lakes and southern Arctic basins, from Lake Winnipeg to the Gulf, with Atlantic basin populations in the Hudson, Susquehanna, and the Potomac. It has 3 recognized subspecies (Page and Burr 1991). There are 5 related species, formerly considered subspecies of P. caprodes, including P. macrolepida (Bigscale Logperch) (Jenkins and Burkhead 1993; Moyle 2002). Bigscale Logperch, introduced to California, were initially identified as P. caprodes (Dill and Cordone 1997; Moyle 2002).



The Bigscale Logperch is a freshwater fish, native to the south-central North America. Its temperature tolerances have not been studied but based on its range, it probably tolerates fairly warm temperatures. In the San Francisco estuary, it has been collected at salinities as high as 4.2 PSU (California Fish Website 2018). As noted above, it has only a small swimbladder and is not capable of sustained swimming. Typical habitats include gravel, sand, mud, sticks and debris on the bottoms of streams, small rivers and lakes. They are often seen sitting on logs, hence the common name (Page and Burr 1991; Moyle 2002). Adults feed by using their projecting snout to overturn pebbles and sticks, and making quick dashes to grab prey in the water column. Their prey includes copepods, cladocerans, amphipods, mysids, and insect larvae (Moyle 2002). They are preyed on by larger fishes, although one author (Mullan et al. 1968, cited by Wang 1986) suggested that it was not considered a good forage fish.


Small crustaceans, mysids, insect larvae, fish egg





Trophic Status:




General HabitatNontidal FreshwaterNone
General HabitatTidal Fresh MarshNone
General HabitatRockyNone
General HabitatGrass BedNone
Salinity RangeLimnetic0-0.5 PSU
Salinity RangeOligohaline0.5-5 PSU
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone
Vertical HabitatNektonicNone

Life History

he Bigscale Logperch (Percina macrolepida) is a small epibenthic freshwater fish. It has a small swim bladder and tends to spend most of its time on the substrate (Evans and Page 2003). The fish mature, in their second year, at 75-102 mm. Spawning is unusual, in that the female displays and chooses the location, by standing on her tail, depositing the eggs on the stems of aquatic plants. Eggs are laid in small batches of 10-20 eggs on aquatic vegetation, or in shallow pits excavated in the substrate. Total fecundity is 150 to 400 eggs (Wang 1986; Moyle 2002). The eggs are not guarded, and the hatched larvae are free-swimming and drift downstream, and feed on zooplankton, until they settle (Wang 1986). This fish lives for up to 3 years (Moyle 2002).

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Temperature (ºC)4.1Spring Branch, Suisun Marsh (Matern et al. 2002)
Maximum Temperature (ºC)29.5Spring Branch, Suisun Marsh (Matern et al. 2002)
Minimum Salinity (‰)0This is a freshwater species.
Maximum Length (mm)110Page and Burr 1991
Broad Temperature RangeNoneWarm temperate
Broad Salinity RangeNoneLimnetic-Oligohaline

General Impacts

No ecological or economic impacts have been reported for the Bigscale Logperch (Percina macrolepida) in its native or introduced ranges.

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
P090 San Francisco Bay 1973 Def Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude


Brown, Larry R.; Michniuk, Dennis (2007) Littoral fish assemblages of the alien-dominated Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California, 1980-1983 and 2001-2003., Estuaries and Coasts 90: 186-200

Cohen, Andrew N.; Carlton, James T. (1995) Nonindigenous aquatic species in a United States estuary: a case study of the biological invasions of the San Francisco Bay and Delta, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Sea Grant College Program (Connecticut Sea Grant), Washington DC, Silver Spring MD.. Pp. <missing location>

Dill, William A.; Cordone, Almo J. (1997) History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996, California Department of Fish and Game Fish Bulletin 178: 1-414

Feyrer, Frederick; Healey, Michael P. (2003) Fish community structure and environmental correlates in the highly altered southern Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta., Environmental Biology of Fishes 66: 123-132

Grimaldo, Lenny; Miller, Robert E.; Hymanson, ZacharyPeregrin, Chris M., (2012) Fish assemblages in reference and restored tidal freshwater marshes of the San Francisco estuary, San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 10(1):

Leidy, R. A. (2007) <missing title>, San Francisco Estuary Institute, Oakland. Pp. <missing location>

Matern, Scott A.; Moyle, Peter; Pierce, Leslie C. (2002) Native and alien fishes in a California estuarine marsh: twenty-one years of changing assemblages, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 131: 797-816

Moyle, Peter B. (1976) Fish introductions in California: History and impact on native fishes., Biological Conservation 9: 101-118

Moyle, Peter B. (2002) Inland Fishes of California, revised and expanded, University of California Press, Berkeley CA. Pp. <missing location>

Olds, A. A.; Smith, M. K. S.; Weyl, O. L. F.; Russell, I. A. (2011) Invasive alien freshwater fishes in the Wilderness Lakes System, a wetland of international importance in the Western Cape Province, South Africa, African Zoology 46: 179-184

Page, Lawrence M.; Burr, Brooks M. (1991) Freshwater Fishes: North America North of Mexico, Houghton-Mifflin, Boston. Pp. <missing location>

Simon, Carol A.; van Niekerk, H. Helene; Burghardt, Ingo; ten Hove, Harry A.; Kupriyanova, Elena K. (2019) Not out of Africa: Spirobranchus kraussii (Baird, 1865) is not a global fouling and invasive serpulid of Indo-Pacific origin, Biological Invasions 14(3): 221–249.

Swift, Camm C., Haglund, Thomas R., Ruiz, Mario, Fisher, Robert N. (1993) The status and distribution of the freshwater fishes of southern California, Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 92(3): 101-167

USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2003-2024 Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database.

Wang, Johnson C. S. (1986) Fishes of the Sacramento - San Joaquin Estuary and Adjacent Waters, California: A Guide to the Early Life Histories, IEP Technical Reports 9: 1-673