Micropterus dolomieu (smallmouth bass)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Water Tolerances
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Micropterus dolomieu Lacepède, 1802
Preferred Common Name
- smallmouth bass
Other Scientific Names
- Bodianus achigan Rafinesque, 1817
- Centrarchus fasciatus Lesueur, 1822
- Cichla fasciata Lesueur, 1822
- Cichla minima Lesueur, 1822
- Micropterus dolomieu dolomieu Lacepède, 1802
- Micropterus dolomieui Lacepède, 1802
- Micropterus dolomieui dolomieui Lacepède, 1802
International Common Names
- English: bass; black bass; bronzeback; brown bass; brown trout; brownie; gold bass; green bass; jumper; northern smallmouth bass; redeye; smallie; smallmouth black bass; streaked-cheek river bass; swago bass; trout bass; white trout
- French: achigan à petite bouche; black-bass à petite bouche; perche d'Amérique à petite bouche; perche noire
- Russian: malorotyi chernyi okun'
Local Common Names
- South America: kleinbek-baars
- Czech Republic: okounek cerný
- Denmark: småmundet black bass; småmundet ørredaborre
- Finland: pikkubassi
- Germany: Großer Schwarzbarsch; kleinmäuliger Schwarzbarsch; Schwarzbarsch
- Japan: kokuchibasu
- Netherlands: kleinbekbaars
- Norway: svart lakseabbor
- Portugal: achiga-boca-pequena
- Romania: biban cu gura mica
- Slovakia: ostracka cierna
- Sweden: svartabborre
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
M. dolomieu is a freshwater fish belonging to the sunfish family (Centrarchidae). It was intentionally introduced into areas outside of its native range, by managers of fisheries, during the nineteenth century. M. dolomieu has been introduced into much of the USA, southern parts of Canada and in countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. The spread of this species has continued by both legal and illegal introductions by anglers. Introductions of M. dolomieu can have a negative impact on the environment. They are known to reduce the abundance and diversity of native small-bodied fish and, through predation, they can outcompete other piscivorous game fish and indirectly alter planktonic and benthic communities. In addition to this, it is possible for M. dolomieu to hybridise with a number of other species in the genera Micropterus thereby altering genetic diversity. Established populations of M. dolomieu can be very difficult and costly to control and further stocking and introductions should be avoided.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Perciformes
- Suborder: Percoidei
- Family: Centrarchidae
- Genus: Micropterus
- Species: Micropterus dolomieu
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
M. dolomieu is a freshwater fish belonging to the sunfish family (Centrarchidae). The genus Micropterus contains a total of seven species, of which M. dolomieu is the type species (EOL, 2016).
The name M. dolomieu comes from the Greek meaning Micropterus: mikros = small and pteron = wing, fin (Romero, 2002). The common name, smallmouth bass refers to its small jaw, where the rear end does not extend past the eye, unlike that the largemouth bass, M. salmoides (Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 2016).
According to NatureServe (2016) the specific name dolomieui was modified “to the original spelling, dolomieu. This change conforms with the policies of the 1985 International Code of Zoological Nomenclature and has been followed in recent major ichthyological publication.”
DescriptionTop of page
M. dolomieu are generally brown, occasionally black or green (seldom yellow) with red eyes, and dark brown vertical bands. The upper jaw does not extend past the eye and bronze streaks are common on their cheeks. Two dorsal fins with spinous and soft-rayed portions united, with 13–15 soft rays in the dorsal fin.
DistributionTop of page
The native range of M. dolomieu is restricted to the fresh waters of eastern-central North America including 23 states in the east-central USA (Rahel, 2000; USGS, 2016) and two provinces in southern Canada (Scott and Crossman, 1973) within the Ohio, Tennessee, upper Mississippi basin, Saint- Lawrence River and Great Lakes systems (Scott and Crossman, 1973).
M. dolomieu has been introduced to a number of continents outside of its native range into Asia (Japan, Vietnam), Africa (Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe), Europe (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK) and Oceania (Fiji and Guam) however it has not established in all of these countries (Loppnow et al., 2013). This species has expanded its distribution in its native range and has been introduced further east and west across Canada and almost everywhere in the USA (Scott and Crossman, 1973).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
Introductions of M. dolomieu outside of its native range began primarily through intentional stocking by managers of fisheries during the nineteenth century.
However, numerous pathways of introductions have been identified including intentional and unintentional introductions by anglers (Jackson, 2002) and unintentional introductions from bait bucket transfers (Litvak and Madrak, 1993). Drake (2011) suggests that bait bucket transfers in Ontario are responsible for as many as 20 introduction events of M. dolomieu per system per year into waterbodies outside of their current range. Records indicate that M. dolomieu was first introduced outside of its native range into Belgium in 1873 (FAO, 1997). Details of introductions of M. dolomieu outside of its native range and whether these have established can be found in the “Introduction table”.
IntroductionsTop of page
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
The main risk of M. dolomieu being introduced into a new area results from its popularity as a game fish with anglers. More recently the expanding distribution of M. dolomieu has been linked to climate change and a result of the warming of waters (Loppnow et al., 2013).
HabitatTop of page
In its native range,M. dolomieu is mainly found in streams, lakes and lake bays where waters are cool and clear and the bottom is rock or gravel. An ideal habitat contains protective cover such as shoal rocks, talus slopes, and submerged logs, with a preferred water temperature of 20-21°C.
Habitat ListTop of page
|Freshwater||Rivers / streams||Principal habitat||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
M. dolomieu has a diploid (2n) chromosome number of 46 and haploid/gametic (n) of 23 (Arkhipchuk, 1999).
There are reports of M. dolomieu hybridising and producing fertile offspring with M. treculii in Texas (USGS-NAS, 2016). The offspring are capable of backcrossing with the parent species, more frequently with M. dolomieu, which can compromise the genetics of the already depleted M. treculii (USGS-NAS, 2016). Hybrids with M. punctulatus and M. salmoides have also been reported in the USA.
Spawning activity begins in the spring when water temperatures reach a minimum of 15°C. Males excavate a small, saucer-shaped nest in the shallow waters of lakes and rivers, on sand, gravel, or rocky bottoms and nest near to structures such as logs or boulders. Occasionally nests are built downstream of an obstruction that causes a break in the current (Moyle, 2002). Females lay approximately 2,000 eggs at each spawning and a female can produce 2,000 to 21,000 eggs (Moyle, 2002). The norm is usually around 5,000 to 14,000 (Scott and Crossman, 1973). Several females may spawn in one nest (Whitlock, 2004). After spawning, the female leaves the nest and may spawn with another male in another nest. The male guards the eggs for 4-6 days and then the fry for approximately two weeks before they disperse (Scott and Crossman, 1973; Neves, 1975).
M. dolomieu mature at age three or four and occasionally live to be 10-12 years old, with a maximum age of around 15 years being recorded in Canada (Scott and Crossman, 1973). However, Froese and Pauly (2004) report a maximum age of 26 years.
Populations of M. dolomieu have been described as seasonally migratory or non-migratory as many lake populations undergo short spawning migrations (Cuerrier, 1943). Langhurst and Schoenike (1990) observed M. dolomieu migrating 69-87 km when the autumn water temperature fell below 16°C.
M. dolomieu are cannibalistic and mostly consumes fish, insects and crayfish (Scott and Crossman, 1973), with the bulk of their diets consisting of crayfish and aquatic insects (Lachner, 1950). Juvenile M. dolomieu however primarily eat plankton and insects.
The upper temperature limit for adult M. dolomieu is 32°C, optimum range for adult rearing is 21-27°C, and the optimum range for spawning is 12.8-21°C (Edwards et al., 1983). Kane and Rabeni (1987) concluded that a pH of 5.1 adversely affects young M. dolomieu, but they can tolerate a pH from 5.7-9.0, with a preference of 7.9-8.1. M. dolomieu is able to withstand a turbidity of < 25 JTU (Brown et al., 2009). Optimal dissolved oxygen levels vary by life-stage, although normal activities require > 6 mgl-1, spawning requires > 7 mgl-1 and embryo/larvae development requires > 6.5 mgl-1 (Davis, 1975).
ClimateTop of page
|Am - Tropical monsoon climate||Tolerated||Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))|
|BS - Steppe climate||Tolerated||> 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation|
|Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year|
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Df - Continental climate, wet all year||Preferred||Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)|
|Ds - Continental climate with dry summer||Preferred||Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)|
Water TolerancesTop of page
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Dissolved oxygen (mg/l)||6||7||Optimum|
|Turbidity (JTU turbidity)||25||Optimum|
|Water pH (pH)||7.9||8.1||Optimum|
|Water temperature (ºC temperature)||21||27||Optimum|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Natural predators of M. dolomieu include fish and turtles. Populations of M. dolomieu in Eastern Canada have been shown to host a number of bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases, including bass tapeworm Proteocephalus sp. and the grubs Posthodiplostomum sp., Clinostomum sp. and Uvulifer sp. (Hoffman, 1967). In North America, Becker et al. (1966) recorded a total of 21 different parasites from 489 bass from a reservoir in Arkansas.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
It is possible for M. dolomieu to disperse locally through connected waters into adjacent habitats (Brown et al., 2009).
Drake (2011) suggests that accidental releases via bait bucket transfers are responsible for as many as 20 introduction events of M. dolomieu per system per year into waterbodies outside of their current range in Ontario.
Intentional introductions of M. dolomieu have occurred as this species is a popular recreational sport fish.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Cultural/amenity||Positive and negative|
Economic ImpactTop of page
Environmental ImpactTop of page
When M. dolomieu is introduced into a waterbody, they prey heavily on smaller fish competing with native species. It is possible that M. dolomieu may become a dominant component of the food web, particularly in systems of low biological and physical complexity. It has been reported that the introduction of M. dolomieu often result in a shift in forage fish assemblages manifested as declines in abundance and reduced species diversity (DFO, 2009). There are numerous reports of this occuring in North America (Findlay et al., 2000; Weidel et al., 2000; MacRae and Jackson, 2001; Jackson and Mandrak, 2002) and other parts of the world (Impson, 1998; Iguchi et al., 2004). Indriect changes to planktonic and benthic communities have also been reported (Jackson, 2002).
It is possible for M. dolomieu to hybridise with at least four other basses including M. salmoides (largemouth bass), M. coosae (redeye bass), M. punctulatus (spotted bass) and M. treculii (Guadalupe bass) (Kerr and Grant 1999; Moyle 2002). Hybrids produced by M. dolomieu and M. treculii are fertile and can backcross with the parent species, more frequently with M. dolomieu. As a result, this can decrease the genetic diversity of the already depleted M. treculii further (USGS, 2016).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Invasive in its native range
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
- Highly mobile locally
- Altered trophic level
- Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Threat to/ loss of endangered species
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Pest and disease transmission
- Interaction with other invasive species
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
The economic importance of M. dolomieu comes from their popularity as a small sport fish. To date, economic impacts resulting from these introductions have not been quantified.
Due to its fighting ability and the taste of the flesh, M. dolomieu is an important recreational fish species and therefore provides some social benefit (Whitlock et al., 2004).
Uses ListTop of page
- Sport (hunting, shooting, fishing, racing)
- Sport fish
Human food and beverage
- Fresh meat
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
M. dolomieu is often misidentified with the congener M. salmoides however, the two species can be easily told apart. The maxilla of M. dolomieu is roughly even with the pupil of the eye and the upper jaw reaches to near the rear margin of the eye, which is often red. In contrast, in M. salmoides, the upper and lower jaws extend past the back edge of the eye which is gold. M. salmoides also has a more pronounced notch between the spiny and soft parts of the dorsal fin, while this notch is more broadly connected in M. dolomieu. M. dolomieu has irregular dark brown dorsal vertical bars or shading, while M. salmoides has irregular bars forming a strip along the side and is often dark green on the dorsal surface.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Within the Canadian Maritime provinces there is extensive publicity of M. dolomieu in the provincial angling summaries, which are distributed with angling licences, describing the harm associated with unauthorized transfer of live fish between watersheds.
It is possible to remove M. dolomieu using electrofishing, netting and angling. However, these methods of physical capture are labour intensive and often fail to remove all individuals (Loppnow et al., 2013). Water level manipulation (through partial drawdown in a reservoir or water pulses in a regulated stream) is one way of targeting young on the nest. However, complete dewatering of a pond can also be an effective way to control M. dolomieu (although extreme)(Loppnow et al., 2013; Loppnow and Venturelli, 2014).
Becker et al. (1966) suggests that populations of M. dolomieu may be controlled in part by parasitic infections and speculated that a high level of parasitism had contributed to a decline in the fishing of M. dolomieu for sport in Arizona. Two M. dolomieu specific parasites have been identified as having potential as biocontrol agents. These include a tapeworm, Proteocephalus ambloplitis and a unidentified protozoan (Loppnow et al., 2013).
One of the most effective methods of eradicating M. dolomieu is by applying rotenone, however, this piscicide is not species specific and as such is toxic to non-target species.
ReferencesTop of page
Allardi J; Keith P, 1991. Atlas préliminaire des poissons d’eau douce de France. Coll. Patrimoines Naturels, vol. 4. Paris: Secrétariat Faune Flore, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 234 pp.
Arkhipchuk VV, 1999. Chromosome database. Database of Dr. Victor Arkhipchuk. Ukraine.
Becker DA; Heard RG; Holmes PD, 1966. A pre-impoundment survey of the helminth and copepod parasites of Micropterus spp. of Beaver Reservoir in northwest Arkansas. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 95(1):23-34.
Brown TG; Runciman B; Pollard S; Grant ADA; Bradford MJ, 2009. Biological synopsis of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu). Canadian Manuscript Reports of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 2887:v + 50 pp.
Cuerrier JP, 1943. Results of the tagging of black basses caught in the Châteauguay River, Quebec, since 1941. Reviews of Canadian Biology, 2(5):545-548.
Davis JC, 1975. Minimal dissolved oxygen requirements of aquatic life with emphasis on Canadian species: a review. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, 32:2295-2332.
DFO, 2009. Potential impact of smallmouth bass introductions on Atlantic salmon: a risk assessment. DFO Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Science Advisory Report 2009/003.
Drake DAR, 2011. Quantifying the likelihood of human-mediated movements of species and pathogens: the baitfish pathway in Ontario as a model system. PhD Thesis. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: University of Toronto.
Edwards EA; Gebhart G; Maughan OE, 1983. Habitat suitability information: smallmouth bass. US Fish and Wildlife Service FWS/OBS-82/10. US Fish and Wildlife Service.
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Impson ND, 1998. Impact and management of an invasive predatory gamefish, Micropterus dolomieu (Centrarchidae), the smallmouth blackbass, in Western Cape Province, South Africa. International Conference for the Paradi Association and the Fisheries Society of Africa, Grahamstown South Africa, 13-18 Sept 1998.
Jackson DA, 2002. Black bass: ecology, conservation, and management. American Fisheries Society Symposium 31 [ed. by Philipp and Ridgway, DPMS]. 221-232.
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Loppnow GL; Venturelli PA, 2014. Stage-structured simulations suggest that removing young of the year is an effective method for controlling invasive Smallmouth Bass. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 143(5):1341-1347. http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/utaf20
MacRae PSD; Jackson DA, 2001. The influence of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) predation and habitat complexity on the structure of littoral zone fish assemblages. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 58:342-351.
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Neves R, 1975. Factors affecting fry production of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui) in South Branch Lake, Maine. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 104:83-87.
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Tovey CP; Bradford MJ; Herborg L-M, 2008. Biological risk assessment for smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) in British Columbia. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Research Document 2008/075. 47 pp.
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ContributorsTop of page
30/06/2016 Original text by:
Michael Godard, consultant, Canada
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