Many people call a white crappie fish by the name white perch. For this reason many questions are asked about their similarities and if they are really the same. Let’s answer, is white crappie and white perch the same?
White crappie and white perch are not the same fish. They are from a different family and genus. White crappie are P. Annularis species and white perch are M. Americana species. White crappies have a silver color with dark vertical bars on the sides. White perch have a silver color with one dusky lateral line.
This article will discuss the confusion between the two fish. In addition, I’ll compare their tastes, textures, cooking methods, costs and mercury levels. I’ll do a side-by-side comparison of their habitats, size, weight and discuss their nutritional benefits.
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White Crappie vs White Perch: Habitats, Size, Weight and Appearance
How can you tell the difference between a white crappie and a white perch?
The easiest way to tell the difference between a white crappie and white perch is their body markings and dorsal fins. White crappie has black vertical bars down the side. White perch has one dusky lateral line. White crappie has one dorsal fin with 5-6 spines. White perch has two dorsals separated with a notch.
White perch’s first dorsal fin has 9 spines and the second dorsal has 12 soft rays. Another difference is the white crappie has an average shape jaw while the white perch’s lower jaw slightly protrudes.
Scientific Classifications, Families, Species
White crappie are from:
- Family: Centrarchidae
- Genus: Pomoxis
- Species: P. annularis
- Common nicknames: Goldring, silver perch, crappie
White perch are from:
- Family: Moronidae
- Genus: Morone
- Species: M. americana
- Common nicknames: Silver bass
Are crappie called white perch? Some people located in the southern United States calls white crappie by the name white perch even though they are not the same species of fish.
White Crappie and White Perch Habitats
White Crappie Habitats
- White crappies are native to the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay and the Mississippi River basins from Canada, New York, South Dakota and Texas.
- They can be found in lakes, reservoirs and rivers.
- White crappie can be found in murky waters.
White Perch Habitats
- White perch are native to the Atlantic coast. They can be found from Nova Scotia down to South Carolina. White perch can be found in the Great Lakes.
- They can be found in brackish waters, streams, lakes, reservoirs and rivers.
White crappie and white perch are found in many of the same waters like the Great Lakes, rivers and streams. White perch can be found in brackish water where white crappie won’t be found.
White Crappie and White Perch Appearance
White Crappie and White Perch Colors
- White crappies have a silvery color with dark vertical bars along the body. The back is greenish to brown.
- White perch are silver with a grayish body. They have a whitish belly and a dark gray to black back.
- White crappie has one dorsal fin with 5-6 spines.
- White perch has two dorsal fins separated by a tiny notch. The first dorsal fin has nine spines, and the second dorsal fin has 12 soft rays.
- The white crappie jaw does not extend past the eye line. The mouth does not have an upward shape.
- The white perch jaw does not extend past the eye line. They have a slightly projecting lower jaw.
- The scales on a white crappie are similar across the body.
- The scales on a white perch are similar across the body.
- White crappie has a short stubby body. The distance from the center of the eye to the front of the dorsal fin is longer than the length of the dorsal fin.
- White perch has a thin, deep body with a domed back. The tail is mildly forked.
White Crappie and White Perch Size and Weight
- White crappies average 9-12 inches long and weigh between 1/2 pound to 1.5 pounds.
- White perch averages 7-10″ in length and weighs between eight ounces to one pound.
White crappie has a stubbier body than white perch. White crappie also grows slightly longer and weighs more than white perch.
- White crappie live 2-7 years.
- White perch lives up to 17 years.
White Crappie Diet
White crappie consume the following:
- Small fish
White Perch Diet
White perch consumes the following:
- Fish eggs
- Small minnows
- Grass shrimp
- Razor clams
Find out the differences between black and white crappie in my article, Black Crappie vs White Crappie – What’s The Difference? Hint: It may not be the color.
White Crappie and White Perch: Tastes and Textures
One of the most important things people takes into consideration when choosing a fish is its taste. When comparing the two fish, does white crappie tastes like white perch?
White crappie tastes more milder than white perch which can be a little sweeter. White crappie doesn’t taste fishy. White perch can taste fishy at times depending where they were caught. White crappie has a smoother texture compared to white perch which is firmer.
What does white crappie taste like? White crappie have a mild taste. White crappie does not have a sweet or fishy flavor. The texture is soft, smooth and flakey.
What does white perch taste like? White perch has a mild to sweet taste. The texture is moist, firm and flaky. White perch can taste somewhat fishy depending which waters they were caught.
White Perch and White Crappie Substitutions
When preparing recipes for dinner it’s not always possible to locate the type of fish called for. If you have some white perch, you may ask, can I substitute white perch for white crappie?
White perch and white crappie can substitute for each other although white perch may taste slightly sweeter. White perch is slightly firmer allowing it to be used for the same cooking methods. White perch and white crappie can be deep fried, fried, baked or seared.
Other white crappie substitutes include the following:
- Black crappie
- Lake herring
The best white perch substitutes are:
- Sole fillets
- Lake trout
When substituting white perch or white crappie always stick to the following:
- Same size and weight.
- Stick with similar fillets, whole fillet or cross section.
- Stick with skinless or skin when the recipe calls for one.
- Texture is more important for certain cooking methods. Like using a firmer texture when grilling 13.
White crappie and white perch is renowned for being a part of many diets like keto or heart healthy.
If you’re eating low-carb or want to give keto a try, many of my clients have followed this 28-Day Keto Challenge with great success. Visit their website and check it out.
How To Cook White Crappie
The most popular ways to cook white crappie are:
- Pan frying
- Deep frying
Since the texture of crappie is delicate, almost like crabmeat, they make a good substitute for some crab recipes like crab cakes.
How To Cook White Perch
The most popular ways to cook white perch are:
- Deep frying
- Pan frying/Stir fry
White Crappie and White Perch Mercury Levels
The EPA and The Food and Drug Administration have issued warnings and suggestions regarding mercury levels in fish and how often they should be consumed 14. This is especially important for pregnant women, developing children and young infants.
They established a list of best fish, good choices and ones to avoid based on their mercury levels. Therefore, does white perch or white crappie have more mercury?
White perch and white crappie have similar levels of mercury. White perch and white crappie are listed on the FDA’s best choice of fish regarding mercury levels.
If you’re pregnant, breast feeding or has a young child, Always check with a physician prior to eating new foods or changing your dietary habits.
Mercury warnings can change over time or affect only a particular area or state. Please check with your local EPA and FDA for the current recommendations 15.
If you’re curious how crappie compared to bass, check out my article Crappie vs Bass – What’s The Difference? Let’s Compare.
How Much White Perch and White Crappie Cost
The costs for white perch or crappie will vary depending on how the fish are caught and where they are sold. When purchasing any fish, be sure to check the label to see if it is wild-caught or farm raised. Therefore, which is costs more, white perch or white crappie?
White crappie cost more per pound than white perch. The average cost for fresh crappie fillet is $22 per pound. The average costs for fresh white perch fillet is $11.50 per pound.
I checked online at Walleye Direct and found the following prices:
- Wild, crappie fillets
- $22 per pound
- Wild, whole crappie
- $10.45 per pound
I checked Whyte’s Fishery online and found the following prices for white perch and cod:
- Fresh white perch
- $9.00 per pound
I checked Doorganics online and found the following white perch cost:
- Wild white perch fillet
- $14.99 per pound
To save some money on fresh seafood, would you believe some can be purchased on Amazon? Check out their current prices and selection, Fresh Seafood.
White Perch and White Crappie Nutrient Comparison
Below is a nutrient comparison of white perch and cod per four ounces:
|Nutrient||White Crappie (4 ounces)||White Perch (4 Ounces)|
|Total Fat||1.3 g||5.3 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.9 g||1.3 g|
|Protein||25 g||21 g|
|Cholesterol||80 mg||107 mg|
|Sodium||49 mg||46 mg|
|Potassium||357 mg||346 mg|
|Iron||0.9 mg||0.4 mg|
|Calcium||85.8 mg||27.22 mg|
Both fish contain a good number of minerals and vitamins. At first glance it’s difficult to determine which fish provides more. Therefore, is white perch or white crappie healthier?
White crappie is healthier than white perch due to its less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. White crappie provides a higher percentage of protein, potassium, iron and calcium than white perch.
White perch contains the same nutrients, just less of a percentage. Therefore white perch is also healthy. The following section discusses many of the health benefit the nutrients in both fish provides.
Find out how white perch compared to cod in my article, White Perch vs Cod – What’s The Difference? Let’s Compare.
White Perch and White Crappie Health Benefits
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The omega-3 fatty acids contained in white perch and white crappie are heart healthy and help keep arteries healthy. The omega-3s may help with the following:
- Keeping good cholesterol high.
- Keeping bad cholesterol low.
- Reducing plaque build-up.
- Reducing inflammation.
- Lowering triglycerides.
- Help keep the heart rhythms more normal.
DHA and EPA, two of the fatty acids, are associated with lowering blood pressure and improving the health of blood vessels 18.
Studies suggest omega-3s can help reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis. They may also boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.
The B vitamins provided by both fish include B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5, B6, B9 (folate) and B12. B vitamins help support the following:
- Red blood cells.
- Energy levels.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Nerve function.
- Brain function.
White crappie provides 85.8 mg of calcium per four ounces. The calcium contained in both fish is important for blood pressure and the heart. Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure because it helps to control the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 19.
Calcium also helps the following:
- Improve nerve function.
- Build and maintain strong bones.
- Muscles need calcium to function properly.
White perch provides 346 mg and white crappie provides 357 mg of potassium per four ounces. Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium which helps reduce fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 20.
The more potassium you consume, the more sodium your body will lose. Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 21.
According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and increased blood pressure 22.
Read Next – More Fish vs Fish Articles!
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- Wikipedia: Crappie
- Wikipedia: White crappie
- UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment: White Crappie
- Delaware.gov: White Crappie
- Missouri Department of Conservation: Crappie, white
- Missouri Department of Conservation: Crappie
- North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission: White Perch
- USGS: Morone Americana
- Sea Grant University of Wisconsin: White Perch
- Maryland Department of Natural Resources: Maryland Fish Facts White Perch
- Chesapeake Bay Program: White Perch
- Wikipedia: White perch
- Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions
- FDA: Advice about Eating Fish
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mercury accumulation in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) in a Florida lake
- Nutrition Value: White perch fillets, white perch by Turbo Ice
- USDA FoodData Central: Crappie
- National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease
- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure
- American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach
- Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure