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Black Bass

 

Black bass are an important compo­nent of a complex aquatic ecosystem. Effective predators in both heavy cover and open water, their large mouths en­able them to swallow a variety of prey and help keep forage fishes in balance. All black bass species exhibit nesting behavior during spring, with males fanning out an oval depression on a firm substrate and stimulating a female to deposit her eggs. Males fertilize the eggs and then guard them through hatching, and protect schooling bass fry until the young fish reach about an inch, at which time they begin to disperse and fend for themselves. Feeding first on tiny zooplankton (microscopic animals), they soon shift to live fish and other prey. The life of young bass is difficult, but of the tens of thousands produced by a female during her lifetime, only two survivors are required to keep adult population levels stable.

The genetically unique Florida largemouth bass, which is native only to peninsular Florida, is renowned worldwide for producing trophy-size catches. Further north and west through the Panhandle, "intergrade" largemouth bass populations have genes from both Florida largemouth bass and northern largemouth bass (M. s. salmoides) subspecies. Because of rapid growth and top weights that exceed 12 pounds in warmer climates, Florida largemouth bass have been stocked in many states and foreign countries to enhance existing fisheries and create trophy-size fish.

 

 

 

 

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