First records of largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides (Lacépède, 1802) from Bulgaria (Balkan Peninsula).
The largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides (Lacépède, 1802), a North American fish from the family Centrarchidae, is reported for the first time from Bulgaria. In April-June 2018, adult largemouth bass (2+ years) were captured in two localities in the Struma River Basin (south-west Bulgaria). In May 2018, individuals from several schools of recently hatched M. salmoides were collected. The presence of multiple-age classes suggests that M. salmoides survives and reproduces naturally in Bulgarian freshwaters. The increasing number of reports of captured specimens along the Struma River suggests the species may be widespread. The largemouth bass was probably imported and dispersed in Bulgarian freshwater bodies by anglers without a prior risk assessment or authorization by the responsible institutions. In accordance with nature conservation efforts, to prevent further dispersal of the largemouth bass in Bulgaria effective management policies should urgently be developed and implemented by the appropriate authorities.