Perciformes, whose name literally means 'perch-shaped', are the most diversified group within fish and the order with the largest number of species (approximately 10,000) among Vertebrates, accounting for 41% of all fish species.

They are characterized by a dorsal and anal fin with the first radii transformed into sharp spines that vary in number depending on the families, genera and species, and the posterior portion with soft radii. Generally, the pelvic fins, which are in a position between the throat and the belly, have one spine and up to 5 soft spokes. The skin of the Perciformes is covered by scales. Perciformes range in size from 7 millimeters for Schindleria brevipinguis to over 5 meters for Atlantic blue marlin (Makaira nigricans).

The classification of Perciformes is a rather controversial aspect, in which there have been numerous changes, and where genetic discoveries are allowing the reclassification of numerous families within and outside this order.