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The largemouth bass is a fish belonging to Centrarchidae family of sunfish. It is commonly found in freshwater lakes because of their wide range and aggressive bone jarring strikes and the length they exhibit during a fight. This kind of fish is often referred to as black mass, and it originated from the eastern parts of us, northern Mexico and southern Canada. It is commonly viewed as the most intelligent fish that swims in freshwater lakes (Albert 8).
Unlike salmon, which can only be caught on certain seasons of the year, largemouth bass provides recreational opportunities throughout the year. They have a life span of almost 15 years. Their bulky and muscular body enables them to have a short bust of speed. An adult largemouth can run to approximately 12 miles per hour.
Largemouth bass can be differentiated from the other species by its mouth, which extends past the rear of the eye when it is closed. It also has an olive to green coloring a black striped down the sides and a white belly. The different species of Largemouth varies in color depending on the waters they occupy. Alongside this features largemouth bass is able to detect their prey in turbid water and at night (Moyle 320). This is because of some senses, which are like human beings. These five major senses are hearing, taste, touch, smell, and sight.
The growth rate for largemouth bass varies due to influence by the geographical location, the body of water they inhabit within a region and the individual differences one inhibits even in the same population. Despite of all this factors largemouth bass is capable of growing faster under the right conditions (Albert 8). This kind of fish is commonly found in Florida, Canada, and Mexico occupying different habitats and climate.
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In Florida, largemouth bass is the most-prized game fish. This is because they have an advantage of warm climate and all year round supply of food. It is commonly found in St Johns River, Rodman Reservoir, and Lake Okeechobee. Its species is called Micropterus salmoides floridanus. It has a length of more than twenty inches, and its weigh is approximately ten pounds. It has a light greenish to brown sided with dark lateral line which is likely to break into blotches towards the tail. Its differences from the smallmouth bass and the sported bass are that the upper jaws is extended beyond the rear edge of the eye. In addition, its first and second dorsal fin is separated by a deep dip and is no scales on the anal fin.
The Florida large bass is distinguished from those found in Mexico by its scales along the lateral lines. It also grows to trophy size more than the other bass found in other countries. In this area, the habitation of largemouth bass is an important consideration to fisheries (Oster 8). This fish typically prefers clear, non-flowing waters, structural littoral habitats, which include the upper actuaries, reservoir, aquatic vegetation, brushy habitat, and show lines where food is found. The principal habitation for this species is the aquatic vegetation, which has evolved in the shallow, highly vegetated water of Florida.
Largemouth bass also prefers open-water areas in some situations. In addition, they can tolerate also tolerate a wide range of water clarities and prefer water temperatures ranging from 65 to 85 degrees. They are found at a depth of not less than 20 feet. Its habitation also varies with the weather condition. From the month of December through to May, when the temperatures range between 58 to 65, bass prefers building nest in hard-bottom areas along the shallow shorelines or in canals (Moyle 320).
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The feeding habits for these species vary alongside their size. The fingerling mostly feed on insects, crayfish, and, small fishes. The adult fish always feeds on a large range of things, which include crayfish, frogs, salamanders, crabs, snakes, mice, turtle, and even birds.
In Mexico, the largemouth bass species existing bears the name Micropterus salmoides. It is sometimes called the northern largemouth bass or the green bass. Just like the species found in Florida, largemouth bass belongs to the largest family of sunfish. It has a greenish to brownish sides with a dark lateral line in the tail. This dark lateral line tends to break into blotches towards the tail. Their first and second dorsal fin is separated with a deep dip and has no scales on the soft-rayed dorsal fin.
These species flourishes much in warm water more than 80 degrees. Though it can occupy turbid waters, these species spend their time mostly in clear waters with shallow sand abundant rooted aquatic weeds. Unlike the Florida species, it prefers waters approximately 1.5 meters deep.
The diet for this species also depends on the size of the fish. The smaller bass feeds on small insects, small fishes, and crayfish while the adult bass feeds on anything available in the waters. This can be crabs, frogs, mice, turtles and even fish and birds. Largemouth bass grows faster in Mexico but they die at an earlier age (Oster 8).
In California, the largemouth bass was first introduced in 1874 and, since then it has provided economic, and recreation values to the states. It was introduced to California from Illinois, Quincy into Lake Cuyamaca. Just like Mexico, the species is called Micropterus salmoides. Most of the large bass in California are northern largemouth (m. salmoides salmoides). It has a large mouth, a dark stripe on the side of his body and a nick between the dorsal fins ( Albert 8). The color of this species range from dark green on their backs to light green on their belly. They weigh an average of 1 to 2 ibs. Its growth varies between the male and the female fish. The female grows larger than the male fish to a length of approximately 18 inches long. The California species bares the Mexico and Florida species.
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They occupy freshwater lakes with calm and highly vegetated water. They are commonly found in swaps, lakes, streams, and ponds. Just like the Florida species, they prefer shallow, clear vegetated waters with a depth of almost 20 feet down so that they can predict their predators. The diet for this species is more or less like the other species (Albert Ken pg 8). The smaller bass feed on zooplankton, small fishes, crustaceans, insects, northern pike, and yellow perch. The adult bass typically feeds on invertebrates like, sunfish, frogs, and crayfish including the fish species of its own.
However, they commonly relocate to a new habitation if the availability of food in their current habitats is reduced. This can be due to competition or change in weather. This relocation occurs during seasons in that when spawns approaches they move from the winter holding patterns in deep sea to a shallow water sites. Once the spawn is over the Largemouth remains in shallow waters until the temperatures rise above 72 degrees.
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Largemouth fish being the most predators, they are more vulnerable to angling and so they are the popular game fish. In conclusion although all this types of species of largemouth bass are prize trophy fish, it consumption should be limited due to the presences of a small amount of mercury in fish.
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