Family members are distinguished by having a laterally compressed body shape, 3 to 8 anal spines, and 2 dorsal fins (spinous first dorsal and rayed second dorsal) which are fused. The number of dorsal spines varies from 6 to 13. All species in Micropterus and Lepomis have 3 anal spines, which distinguishes them from the other genera in the family.Many of the species within Centrarchidae can be separated into two main groups based on the two most common genera (Micropterus and Lepomis). Species in the genera Lepomis are defined by a deep or more round body shape, smaller mouths, and obtaining food through suction feeding. Species in the genera Micropterus are defined by a more streamlined body shape, larger mouths, and consuming prey primarily by ram feeding methods.