Largemouth bass

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The largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) is a species of Black bass in the sunfish family native to North America . It is also known as widemouth bass, bigmouth, black bass, bucketmouth, Florida bass, Florida largemouth, green bass, green trout, linesides, Oswego bass, southern largemouth and (paradoxically) northern largemouth.[2] The largemouth bass is the state fish of Alabama[3] (official freshwater fish), Georgia,[4] Mississippi,[5] Florida[6] (state freshwater fish), and Tennessee[7] (official sport fish).

Contents

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.[8] In comparison to age a female bass is larger than a male.[9] The largemouth is the largest of the black basses, reaching a maximum recorded overall length of 29.5 in/75 cm[10] and a maximum recorded weight of 25 pounds 1 ounce (11.4 kg).[10] The fish lives 16 years on average.[11]

Forage

The juvenile largemouth bass consumes mostly small bait fish, scuds, small shrimp, and insects. Adults consume smaller fish (bluegill), snails, crawfish (crayfish), frogs, snakes, salamanders, bats and even small water birds, mammals, and baby alligators.[12] 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, trout, ciscoes, shiners, and sunfish. Prey items can be as large as 25 to 35% of the bass's body length. 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. Paradoxically, with little or no cover, bass can devastate the prey population and starve or get stunted. Fisheries managers need to take all these factors into consideration 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 will use its senses of hearing, sight, vibration, and smell to attack and seize its prey. It can sometimes hold up to 5 sunfish in its mouth. Adult largemouth generally are apex predators within their habitat, but they are preyed upon by many animals while young.[13]

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