Ambloplites rupestris (rock 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
- Natural Food Sources
- Water Tolerances
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Threatened Species
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Ambloplites rupestris Rafinesque
Preferred Common Name
- rock bass
Other Scientific Names
- Ambloplites rupestris Jordan and Gilbert
- Bodianus rupestris Rafinesque
- Centrarchus aeneus Richardson
- Cichla aenea Lesueur
International Common Names
- English: goggle-eye; red eye; rock perch
Local Common Names
- Canada: northern rock bass; redeye bass
- Denmark: stenaborre; stenbars
- Finland: kiviahven
- France: crapet de roche
- Germany: gemeiner felsenbarsch; germeiner sonnenbarsch; sonnenfisch; steinbarsch
- Poland: bass czerwonooki
- Portugal: perca-da-rocha
- Sweden: stenabborre
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
A. rupestris, commonly known as rock bass, is a member of the sunfish family. A. rupestris has been introduced throughout the USA and into countries outside of North America, typically as a result of the sport-fishing industry. The limited research available shows that A. rupestris feeds on aquatic plants, insects and small fish. As a result it competes with other native species for food resources. In addition to this it is possible for A. rupestris to hybridize with roanoke (A. cavifrons) and shadow bass (A. ariommus). Roanoke bass is a species of special concern in North Carolina and Virginia (Jenkins and Burkhead, 1994).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Perciformes
- Suborder: Percoidei
- Family: Centrarchidae
- Genus: Ambloplites
- Species: Ambloplites rupestris
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
A.rupestris was first described by Rafinesque in 1817 and is a member of the sunfish family.
The definition of Ambloplites - meaning “blunt shield” and rupestris – preference for being amongst rocks (Schnell, 2014).
DescriptionTop of page
A. rupestris is a member of the sunfish family, and is characterized with a deep body, having its greatest depth at the origin of the dorsal fin being 31.8-36.7% of its total length (Scott and Crossman, 1973). Similar to other sunfish this fish is laterally compressed with the dorsal fin consisting of two confluent parts, an anterior part consisting of eleven sharp spines, with a posterior part of soft rays. The anal fin has six spines, with this number allowing the identification of rock bass from other members of the family. The iris of the eye is usually bright red to orange. A. rupestris can vary in colour and has been described as various shades of olive green with brassy or coppery reflections with a little black spot on the tip of each scale giving the appearance of a series of stripes the full length of the body.
Juvenile A. rupestris are pale or yellow-green irregularly barred and blotched with black.
DistributionTop of page
The native range of A. rupestris is restricted to the fresh waters of east-central North America and can be found from southern Ontario, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River to Quebec and Lake Champlain; found west of the Appalachians south to the Tennessee River drainage and in tributaries of the middle and upper Mississippi River valley. A. rupestris has however been introduced throughout the USA into areas including Atlantic slope drainages (Scott and Crossman, 1973; Cashner, 1980; Cashner and Jenkins, 1982).
There is some disagreement with regards to the status of A. rupestris in Arkansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma with reports of this species being both introduced and native to these areas (Jones 1963; Scott and Crossman, 1973; Lee et al., 1980; Cross et al., 1986; USGS NAS, 2015).
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.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Canada||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Manitoba||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1973|
|-Ontario||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1973|
|-Quebec||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1973|
|-Saskatchewan||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1973|
|USA||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Alabama||Present||Native||Page and Burr, 1991|
|-Arizona||Localised||Introduced||Miller and Lowe, 1967; USGS NAS, 2014|
|-Arkansas||Present||Scott and Crossman, 1973; Lee et al., 1980; Cross et al., 1986; Robinson and Buchanan, 1988; USGS NAS, 2014||Recorded as both introduced and native|
|-California||Localised||Introduced||Smith, 1896; Dill and Cordone, 1997; USGS NAS, 2014|
|-Colorado||Present||Introduced||Scott and Crossman, 1973; USGS NAS, 2014|
|-Delaware||Localised||Introduced||Raasch and Altemus, 1991; USGS NAS, 2014|
|-District of Columbia||Localised||Introduced||Tilmant, 1999; USGS NAS, 2014|
|-Florida||Present||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1973|
|-Georgia||Present||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1973|
|-Kansas||Present||Introduced||Cross, 1967; Scott and Crossman, 1973; Cross and Collins, 1995|
|-Maryland||Localised||Introduced||Lee et al., 1980; Jenkins and , 1994; Tilmant, 1999; Rhode et al., 2009|
|-Missouri||Localised||Native||Page and Burr, 1991|
|-Nebraska||Present||Jones, 1963; Scott and Crossman, 1973||Recorded as both introduced and native|
|-New Hampshire||Localised||Introduced||Scarola, 1973|
|-New Jersey||Localised||Introduced||Nelson, 1890|
|-New Mexico||Localised||Introduced||Sublette et al., 1990|
|-North Carolina||Localised||Introduced||Menhinick, 1991|
|-North Dakota||Present||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1973|
|-Oklahoma||Present||Scott and Crossman, 1973; Lee et al., 1980||Recorded as both introduced and native|
|-Pennsylvania||Localised||Introduced||Lee et al., 1980; Tilmant, 1999|
|-South Carolina||Localised||Introduced||Rhode et al., 2009|
|-South Dakota||Localised||Introduced||Bailey and Allum, 1962|
|-Texas||Localised||Introduced||Hubbs et al., 1991; Rasmussen, 1998|
|-Utah||Localised||Introduced||Sigler and Sigler, 1996|
|-Virginia||Localised||Introduced||Lee et al., 1980; Jenkins and , 1994|
|-Washington||Localised||Introduced||Beecher Fernau, 1982|
|-West Virginia||Localised||Introduced||Stauffer et al., 1995|
|-Wyoming||Present||Introduced||Scott and Crossman, 1973|
|France||Localised||Introduced||Keith and Allardi, 2001||Established, reproducing naturally in Loire|
|UK||Localised||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988||Released into a lake in Oxford, likely extirpated|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
A. rupestris has been intentionally stocked within the USA for over a century. From 1889 to 1936, the United States Fish Commission introduced rock bass to Atlantic drainages and some western states. Research suggests that this species was intentionally stocked as a sport-fishing target with its expansion through natural dispersal. Outside of the USA and Canada, this species was introduced to Mexico as an aquaculture species (Page and Burr, 1991).
Similar to its introduction in the USA, this species was introduced into a lake in the UK; Linkside Lake, Oxford, during the period of 1925-1949 with a possible second attempt at introduction in the 1990s (Welcomme, 1988). It is believed that this species is still present (Wheeler and Maitland, 1973), although attempts to survey have been unsuccessful.
In France, A. rupestris has been the subject of several introduction attempts from the end of the nineteenth century up until the mid-twentieth century in the Saone and Loire regions. Today, only one population of A. rupestris appears to be present in Loire, with its distribution apparently on the increase (Achigan, 2015).
A. rupestris was introduced into Berneuchen, Germany in 1887 from the USA (von dem Borne, 1890; von Wengen, 1892). A total of 20 fish were imported and by 1889 12 of these were still alive and had successfully spawned. Nevertheless A. rupestris is no longer present in Germany (de Groot, 1985).
In 1892 A. rupestris was also introduced into the Czech Republic as an experiment, which was ultimately unsuccessful (Lusk et al., 2010).
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|France||North America||1904-1910||Yes||No||Keith and Allardi (2001)||Research|
|Mexico||USA||Aquaculture (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)|
|UK||USA||1930||Stocking (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Welcomme (1988)||Potentially extinct|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
The spread of A. rupestris into lakes, reservoirs and streams in new areas is often a result of intentional introduction of this fish as a sport fish, intentional aquarium releases and for aquaculture.
HabitatTop of page
A. rupestris generally inhabits rocky, vegetated areas in shallow water such as lakes, brushy stream margins, pools of creeks and small to medium rivers (Page and Burr, 1991). They usually inhabit freshwater with a high cover of vegetation to provide protection from predators.
In Europe, A. rupestris has a tendency to avoid swift waters and occurs in a wide variety of slow-flowing to stagnant waters such as large rivers, lakes, ponds, canals and backwaters (Kottelat and Freyhof, 2007).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Irrigation channels||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Rivers / streams||Principal habitat||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
A.rupestris has a diploid (2n) chromosome number of 48 and a haploid/gametic (n) of 24 (Arkhipchuk, 1999).
A. rupestris are polygyandrous; both males and females have several mates during the breeding season (Schnell, 2014). In its native range in North America, A. rupestris spawn in late spring and early summer when water temperatures reach 15.6-21.1°C (Scott and Crossman, 1973). Males dig shallow nests, where spawning can take place with several females over a period of time. Depending on the size of the female, 500-5,000 eggs may be laid in one nest (Schnell, 2014). After fertilization the male defends the eggs from predators and cares for the young; a total of about 14 days. Both male and females reach maturity at two to three years of age (Schnell, 2014).
Outside of its native range, males fan and defend the nests, which are shallow depressions in sand or gravel bottom along shallow shores.
A. rupestris has an average lifespan of about five to eight years in the wild. It has been reported that the maximum lifespan of a rock bass in captivity was 18 years (Altman and Dittmer, 1962).
A. rupestris feeds on aquatic plants, insects and small fish, including young of their own species (Page and Burr, 1991).
A. rupestris have been known to carry a number of parasites, which include: Protoza, Trematoda, Cestoda, Nematoda, Acanthocephala, leeches and Crustacea (Hoffman, 1967). One parasite regularly identified on this species is “black-spot” (Neascus species) (Scott and Crossman, 1973).
A. rupestris can survive in areas with a broad temperature range <10-29°C) (Schnell, 2014). It has been suggested that it has a preferred range of 21-26°C.
Natural Food SourcesTop of page
|Food Source||Life Stage||Contribution to Total Food Intake (%)||Details|
|Small fish species||Broodstock/Fry/Larval|
ClimateTop of page
|D - Continental/Microthermal climate||Preferred||Continental/Microthermal climate (Average temp. of coldest month < 0°C, mean warmest month > 10°C)|
|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)|
|Dw - Continental climate with dry winter||Preferred||Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)|
Water TolerancesTop of page
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Dissolved oxygen (mg/l)||> 6||Optimum|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
There are several predators in the native range which prey on young A. rupestris. These include largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), northern pike (Esox Lucius), and muskellunge (Esox masquinongy).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Accidental introductions of A. rupestris have been reported through bait bucket releases.
In the past, A. rupestris has been stocked as an aquarium species as well as an angling target for sport fishing. Intentional introduction is the main cause of introduction of A. rupestris into new areas, particularly those over longer distances.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
There is limited economic impact associated with A. rupestris. This species is not highly sought after as a sports-fish nor a commercial species, but has some value as an aquarium species.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact on Biodiversity
A. rupestris competes with native species and is reported to have severely affected populations of roanoke bass (Ambloplites cavifrons) through hybridization and competition (Lee et al., 1980; Jenkins and Burkhead, 1994). Roanoke bass are a species of special concern in North Carolina and Virginia (Jenkins and Burkhead, 1994). It is also know to hybridize with shadow bass (A. ariommus).
A. rupestris have also been shown to reduce the abundance and diversity of native prey species in several Pacific Northwest rivers (Hughes and Herlihy, 2012).
A. rupestris have been shown to reduce the abundance and diversity of native prey species in several Pacific Northwest rivers (Hughes and Herlihy, 2012). Jenkins and Burkhead (1994) speculated that introduced A. rupestris have contributed to the demise of an isolated population of trout-perch (Percopsis omiscomaycus) in the Potomac River in Virginia and Maryland. Additionally, research shows a decline in Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) populations where A. rupestris has been introduced as a result of competition for food resources, specifically minnows and crayfish. It has also been found to compete with walleye (Sander vitreus) for food resources and may also predate on young walleye. Both smallmouth bass and walleye are highly sought after fish as recreational targets.
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Etheostoma nianguae (Niangua darter)||VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable); USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened species||Missouri||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1989|
|Gila nigrescens (chihuahua chub)||VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable) VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable); USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened species||New Mexico||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010|
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Invasive in its native range
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Tolerant of shade
- 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
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition - smothering
- Pest and disease transmission
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
UsesTop of page
In some areas, A. rupestris is considered a valuable sport fish, with bass fishing being a multi-billion dollar industry in the USA. Fishing supports approximately 828,000 jobs in the USA; many of these jobs involve fishing for species such as rock bass (Schramm et al., 1991).
A. rupestris is an important fish species for recreational fishery.
Uses ListTop of page
- Pet/aquarium trade
- Sport (hunting, shooting, fishing, racing)
Human food and beverage
- Meat/fat/offal/blood/bone (whole, cut, fresh, frozen, canned, cured, processed or smoked)
Detection and InspectionTop of page
A. rupestris can be easily identified from other species of sunfish by the presence of six spines on the anal fin and a bright red to orange eye.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
A. rupestris, otherwise known as rock bass, aren’t actually bass and are instead members of the sunfish family. Confusion between other members of the sunfish family is often with similarities between the bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and warmouth (Lepomis gulosus); however, A. rupestris can be readily distinguished from these species by the six spines in the anal fin (other typical sunfishes have only three anal fin spines).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Public awareness is important in preventing establishment of new populations and further introductions of A. rupestris.
Annual rock bass fishing tournaments are held in the USA to aid in eradication of this species.
Electrofishing and seine/gill netting has been used to catch A. rupestris in its native ranges, however there has been no report to use these methods to physically or mechanically control this species.
The only effective method eradicating A. rupestris is by the application of rotenone, a piscicide. This chemical however, is also toxic to non-target species.
Monitoring and Surveillance
Both radio and acoustic telemetry can be used to detect A. rupestris.
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
There is little information on the potential and current impacts of A. rupestris in its introduced range.
ReferencesTop of page
Achigan, 2015. (Peche sportive). [English title not available]. France. http://www.achigan.net/en/
Bailey RM, Allum MO, 1962. Fishes of South Dakota. Michigan, USA: Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, 119.
Beecher HA, Fernau RF, 1982. Fishes of Oxbow Lakes of Washington. Northwest Science, 57(2):125-131.
Borne M, dem von, 1890. Der Amerikanische Steinbarsch (Rock-Bass) in Deutschland ([English title not available]). Neudamm, Poland: Verlag J. Neumann.
Cashner RC, 1980. Ambloplites rupestris (Rafinesque), rock bass. In: Atlas of North American Fishes [ed. by Lee, D. S. \Gilbert, C. \Hocutt, C. \Jenkins, R. \McAllister, D. E. \Stauffer, J. R.]. Raleigh, North Carolina, USA: NC State Museum of Natural History, 581.
Cashner RC, Jenkins RE, 1982. Systematics of the Roanoke bass, Ambloplites cavifrons. Copeia, 3:581- 594.
Cross FB, Collins JT, 1995. Fish in Kansas, second edition. Lawrence Kansas, USA: Univeristy of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education.
Cross FB, Mayden RL, Stewart JD, 1986. Fishes in the western Mississippi basin (Missouri, Arkansas, and Red Rivers). In: The Zoogeography of North American Freshwater Fishes [ed. by Hocutt CH, Wiley EO, ] New York, USA: John Wiley and Sons, 363-412.
Dayton P, Thrush S, Agardy T, Hofman R, 1995. Environmental effects of marine fishing. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 5/3:205-232.
Groot SJ de, 1985. Introductions of non-indigenous fish species for release and culture in the Netherlands. Aquaculture, 46:237-257.
Hartel K, 1992. Non-native fishes known from Massachusetts freshwaters. Occasional Reports of the MCZ Fish Department, 1992(2). 1-9.
Hoffmann GL, 1967. Parasites of North American Freshwater Fishes. Berkeley, California, USA; University of California Press, 486 pp.
Jones DJ, 1963. A history of Nebraska's fishery resources. Nebraska, USA: Nebraska Game, Forestation and Parks Commission.
Linder AD, 1963. Idaho's alien fishes. Journal of the Idaho Museum of Natural History, 6(2):12-15.
Menhinick EF, 1991. The freshwater fishes of North Carolina. Raleigh, North Carolina, USA: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, 227.
Miller RR, Lowe CH, 1967. Fishes of Arizona. In: The Vertebrates of Arizona [ed. by Lowe, C. H.]. Tucson, Arizona, USA: University of Arizona Press, 133-151.
Missouri Department of Conservation, 2008. Fish of Missouri. Missouri, USA: Missouri Department of Conservation. http://mdc.mo.gov/
Nelson J, 1890. Discriptive catalogue of the vertebrates of New Jersey. Geological Survery of New Jersey 1890. 489-824.
NOBANIS, 2013. North European and Baltic Network on Invasive Alien Species. http://www.nobanis.org/
Raasch MS, Altemus VL, 1991. Delaware's freshwater and brackish water fishes - a popular account. Delaware, USA: Delaware State College, Center for the Study of Del-Mar-Va Habitats, 166 pp.
Rasmussen JL, 1998. Aquatic nuisance species of the Mississippi river basin. In: 60th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Aquatic Nuisance Species Symposium, Dec. 7, 1998, Cincinnati, OH. unpaginated.
Robinson HW, Buchanan TM, 1988. Fishes of Arkansas. Arkansas, USA: University of Arkansas Press, 536.
Scarola JF, 1973. Freshwater Fishes of New Hampshire. New Hampshire, USA: New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, Division of Inland and Marine Fisheries, 131.
Schnell B, 2014. Ambloplites rupestris, Goggle eye. Michigan, USA: University of Michigan. http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Ambloplites_rupestris/
Schramm Jr H, Armstrong M, Funicelli N, Green G, Lee D, Manns Jr R, Taubert B, Waters S, 1991. The status of competitive sport fishing in North America. Fisheries, 16/3:4-12.
Scott WB, Crossman EJ, 1973. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can. 184:1-966.
Sigler WF, Sigler JW, 1996. Fishes of Utah: a natural history. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: University of Utah Press.
Smith HM, 1896. A review of the history and results of the attempts to acclimatize fish and other water animals in the Pacific states. Bulletin of the US Fish Commission, 15:379-472.
Sweeney ZT, 1902. Biennial report of the commissioner of fisheries and game for Indiana. Indianapolis, Indiana, USA: WM. B. Burford.
US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010. In: Chihuahua Chub (Gila nigrescens). 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 23 pp.. http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/five_year_review/doc4325.pdf
USGS NAS, 2014. Nonindigenous aquatic species database. Gainesville, Flordia, USA: USGS. http://nas.er.usgs.gov/
Wengen FR von, 1892. Neue Amerikanische Fische in Deutschland. Circulare des Deutschen Fischerei-Vereins vom 1892. Berlin, Germany: W. Moseser, 236-237.
ContributorsTop of page
12/02/15 Original text by:
Michael Godard, consultant, Canada
Distribution MapsTop of page
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