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Largemouth bass

Largemouth bass
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Subclass: Neopterygii
Infraclass: Teleostei
Order: Perciformes
Family: Centrarchidae
Genus: Micropterus
Species: M. salmoides
Binomial name
Micropterus salmoides
(Lacépède, 1802)[2]

The largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) is a freshwater [5] Mississippi,[6] Florida[7] (state freshwater fish), and Tennessee[8] (official sport fish).


  • Physical description 1
  • Forage 2
  • Angling 3
  • Invasive species 4
  • References 5

Physical description

The largemouth is an olive green fish, marked by a series of dark, sometimes black, blotches forming a jagged horizontal stripe along each flank. The upper jaw (maxilla) of a largemouth bass extends beyond the rear margin of the orbit.[9] In comparison to age, a female bass is larger than a male.[10] The largemouth is the largest of the black basses, reaching a maximum recorded overall length of 29.5 in (75 cm)[11] and a maximum unofficial weight of 25 pounds 1 ounce (11.4 kg).[11] The fish lives 16 years on average(give or take a few years).[12]


The juvenile largemouth bass consumes mostly small bait fish, scuds, small shrimp, and insects. Adults consume smaller fish (bluegill, banded killifish), snails, crawfish (crayfish), frogs, snakes, salamanders, bats and even small water birds, mammals, and baby alligators.[13] In larger lakes and reservoirs, adult bass occupy deeper water than younger fish, and shift to a diet consisting almost entirely of smaller fish like shad, yellow perch, ciscoes, shiners, and sunfish. It also consumes younger members of larger fish species, such as pike, catfish, trout, walleye, white bass, striped bass, and even smaller black bass. Prey items can be as large as 50% of the bass's body length or larger.

Studies of prey utilization by largemouths show that in weedy waters, bass grow more slowly due to difficulty in acquiring prey. Less weed cover allows bass to more easily find and catch prey, but this consists of more open-water baitfish. With little or no cover, bass can devastate the prey population and starve or be stunted. Fisheries managers must consider these factors when designing regulations for specific bodies of water. Under overhead cover, such as overhanging banks, brush, or submerged structure, such as weedbeds, points, humps, ridges, and drop-offs, the largemouth bass uses its senses of hearing, sight, vibration, and smell to attack and seize its prey. Adult largemouth are generally apex predators within their habitat, but they are preyed upon by many animals while young.[14]


Largemouth bass
Largemouth bass, caught and released in Minnesota

Largemouth bass are keenly sought after by

  1. ^ NatureServe (2013). "Micropterus salmoides".  
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2010). "Micropterus salmoides in FishBase. February 2010 version.
  3. ^ "Black Bass".  
  4. ^ "Official Alabama Freshwater Fish". Alabama Emblems, Symbols and Honors. Alabama Department of Archives & History. February 13, 2008. Retrieved May 9, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Georgia State Symbols". State of  
  6. ^ "State Symbols". State of  
  7. ^ "State Freshwater Fish". State of Florida. Retrieved May 9, 2008. 
  8. ^ "State Symbols". State of  
  9. ^ In-Fisherman Largemouth Bass Description
  10. ^ Fresh water fish identification Largemouth bass. June 23, 2010
  11. ^ a b "Escondido's world-famous bass found dead". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved May 27, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)". Texas Parks and Wildlife. Retrieved October 3, 2008. 
  13. ^ YouTube – Fish vs Alligator
  14. ^ In-Fisherman – Largemouth Bass Forage
  15. ^ Smallmouth Bass: Minnesota DNR
  16. ^ Retrieved 7/2013 - Bass Fishing Info About Bass, Bass Fishing and Bass Fishing Tips
  17. ^,%20largemouth
  18. ^ New Brunswick Invasives
  19. ^ Leppakoski, Erkki. Invasive aquatic species of Europe: distribution, impacts, and management. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 1998. The Netherlands. 156-162.
  20. ^ "Micropterus salmoides". Invasive Species Specialist Group. April 11, 2006. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 


The largemouth bass has been introduced into many other countries due to its popularity as a sport fish. It causes the decline, displacement or extinctions of species in its new habitat,[19] for example in Namibia.[20]

Invasive species

Although it is most popular in the southeastern states, many varieties of the largemouth bass can be found in the north and western regions. They are an invasive species in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, and are a danger to native fish fry.[18]

Strong cultural pressure among largemouth bass anglers encourages the practice of catch and release, especially the larger specimens, mainly because larger specimens are usually breeding females that contribute heavily to future sport fishing stocks. Largemouth bass, if handled with care, respond well to catch and release. They have a white, slightly mushy meat, lower quality than that of the smallmouth bass, bluegill, yellow perch, crappie or walleye. Small largemouth, 10-14 inches, can be quite delicious when the water temperature is low but the large fish should be released.


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