Largemouth Bass, Micropterus salmoides

Largemouth Bass, Micropterus salmoides

Largemouth Bass
Image based on (Texas State Wildlife)

Physical Description and Taxonomy
Micropterus, from the Greek, "small fin" salmoides, from the Latin, salmo, "trout"; hence "trout-like" Common name from large mouth, the line of which extends back past the eye. Other common names include: Bigmouth Bass, Bigmouth Trout, Black Bass, Bucketmouth Bass, Green Bass, Green Trout, Hawg, Hog, Lineside, Lake Bass, Openmouth Bass, Oswego Bass, Slough Bass, Welshman

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata, animals with a spinal chord
Subphylum Vertebrata, animals with a backbone
Superclass Osteichthyes, bony fishes
Class Actinopterygii, ray-finned and spiny rayed fishes
Subclass Neopterygii
Infraclass Teleostei
Superorder Acanthopterygii,
Order Perciformes, perch-like fishes
Suborder Percoidei
Family Centrarchidae, sunfish
Genus Micropterus, black bass, largemouth bass (

Largemouth bass grow 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) during their first year, 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) in two years, 16 inches (40 cm) in three years. They are usually green with dark blotches that form a horizontal stripe along the middle of the fish on either side. The underside ranges in color from light green to almost white. They have a nearly divided dorsal fin with the anterior portion containing nine spines and the posterior portion containing 12 to 13 soft rays. Their upper jaw reaches far beyond the rear margin of the eye. (Texas State Parks and Wildlife)
Micropterus salmoides has a large mouth, a notch between the two dorsal fins, and a dark stripe along the side of the body (Bailey et al., 2004). This black band is seemingly made up of small oval shapes to a closer eye. Coloration is variable, but is usually a darkish green on the back and sides, fading to an off-white on the belly. The anterior dorsal fin has nine to eleven spines while the posterior dorsal fin has twelve to fourteen rays (Boschung et al., 2004). The average weight of M. salmoides is one kilogram; however, certain individuals have reached weights of over ten kilograms. Males usually do not surpass 40 cm, while females can reach up to 56 cm in length. (Bailey, Latta, and Smith, 2004; Boschung, Mayden, and Tomelleri, 2004) (University of Michigan)

Largemouth bass were originally distributed throughout most of what is now the United States east of the Rockies, including many rivers and lakes in Texas, with limited populations in southeastern Canada and northeastern Mexico. Because of its importance as a game fish, the species has been introduced into many other areas worldwide, including nearly all of Mexico and south into Central and South America. Largemouth bass seek protective cover such as logs, rock ledges, vegetation, and man-made structures. They prefer clear quiet water, but will survive quite well in a variety of habitats. (Texas State Parks and Wildlife)
Micropterus salmoides is native to eastern North America and historically ranged from southern Canada to northern Mexico, and from the Atlantic coast to the central region of the United States. Since the beginning of the twentieth century largemouth bass have been introduced successfully all over the world. (Carlander, 1977; Hubbs, 1964; Page and Burr, 1991) Largemouth bass prefer quiet, clear waters with abundant vegetation (Iguchi and Matsuura, 2004). More specifically, they prefer shallow water that is usually no deeper than 2.5 meters, but they sometimes occupy deeper regions. Abundant vegetation is important because it allows bass to hide from their prey and provides protection against predators.
Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.(University of Michigan and

Temperature Requirements
Growing: 55-80 F / 10 – 32°C; 47°N - 26°N (
Spawning: 60-65 F (

Fry feed primarily on zooplankton, aquatic insects and insect larvae. At about two inches in length they become active predators. Adults feed almost exclusively on other fish and large invertebrates such as crayfish and frogs. Larger fish prey upon smaller bass. Sunfish are the food of choice for most adult largemouth bass. Sometimes cannibalistic. (Olsen and Young, 2003, Texas State Parks and Wildlife, University of Michigan,

Commercial Production
The production, rearing and stocking of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) represents a large economic asset in the aquaculture industry of the midwestern U.S., requiring extensive information on the biology of this species.
( Comparison of Experimental Growth Rates of Pond-Raised Largemouth Bass, Micropterus salmoides, Fed Natural and Artificial Foods)
Size: 1.0 - 2.5 lbs for food and 4-8 inches for fingerlings
Feed requirements: Protein: 40% diets are normally fed from fingerlings to adults after fingerlings have been trained to accept commercial diets.
Fat: 8-10%. Ponds for spawning and grow-out to food fish size. Small fingerlings are normally removed from ponds and trained to accept commercial diets using flow through systems. (

Spawning Requirements
In Texas spawning begins in the spring when water temperatures reach about 60°F. This could occur as early as February or as late as May, depending one where one is in the state. Males build the nests in two to eight feet of water. Largemouth bass prefer to nest in quieter, more vegetated water than other black bass, but will use any substrate besides soft mud, including submerged logs. As in Guadalupe bass, once the female has laid eggs in the nest (2,000 to 43,000) she is chased away by the male who then guards the precious eggs. The young, called fry, hatch in five to ten days. Fry remain in a group or "school" near the nest and under the male's watch for several days after hatching. Their lifespan is on average 16 years. (Texas State Parks and Wildlife)

Natural Enemies
Larval and juvenile largemouth bass are prey species of yellow perch, walleye, northern pike, and muskellunge. As adults, largemouth bass can usually escape most predators. The primary predators on adult largemouth bass are humans. (Paulson and Hatch, 2002) Preyed upon by herons, bitterns, and kingfishers (Ref. 1998). Excellent food fish (Ref. 1998). (University of Michigan and

References: Largemouth Bass

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