Unique Characters: Stout-bodied with a large head terminal mouth, and single dorsal fin. Dark bar below the eye and a larger one at caudal fin base. In the adult the anus is located in the throat.
Small Pirate Perch may be confused with young sunfish or bass, but Pirate Perch may be readily separated from them by the number of dorsal spines (3 or 4 in Pirate Perch vs. usually 10 in sunfishes), the location of the anus (near the throat vs. anterior to anal fin),and the presence of sensory papillae on the head vs. absent in the sunfish and bass. .