The Zander is a valuable game fish in the Percidae (perch) family. Though not related to the pike, it's also called Pike-Perch. It is widespread in desalted basins of the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, in big and medium-sized rivers of Eastern Europe and Asia, in big lakes: Ladoga Lake, Lake Peipsi (Chudskoe), Lake Seliger etc.
Two forms of zander are discerned based on the life cycle: freshwater and semi-diadromous. Non-migrating freshwater zander inhabit rivers and clean lakes; semi-diadromous occurs in brackish water in southern seas and moves upstream (to the Dniepr, the Volga, the Ural River, the Don and the Kuban) to spawn.
Zander chooses water bodies with favorable oxygenation. Usually it stays in the bottom water, preferring areas with sandy or stony bottom. It comes to the top water and shallows only in the period of spawning or when chasing its prey, normally in the morning or in the evening. Zander is an aggressive predator. It feeds on fish, frogs and crustaceans.
Its body is elongated and flattened along flanks. The back and the top of its head are greenish gray, the abdomen is white. There are brownish black stripes on its flanks. On its jaws, there are pronounced fangs. Between the rays on its dorsal and caudal fins, there are aligned dark spots. The rest of fins are pale yellow. Zander is the largest fish in the perch family. Its maximum length is 1.3 m, the biggest specimens weight 20 kg. An average zander is 60 to 70 cm long and weights from 2 to 4 kg.