Spotted bass

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Spotted bass
Micropterus punctulatus.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Centrarchidae
Genus: Micropterus
Species: M. punctulatus
Binomial name
Micropterus punctulatus
(Rafinesque, 1819)

The spotted bass (Micropterus punctulatus), also called spotty, or spots in various fishing communities, is a species of freshwater fish of the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of the order Perciformes. One of the black basses, it is native to the Mississippi River basin and across the Gulf states, from central Texas through the Florida panhandle. Its native range extends into the western Mid-Atlantic states and it has been introduced into western North Carolina and Virginia. It has also been introduced to southern Africa, where it has become established in some isolated waters. It is often mistaken for the similar and more common largemouth bass.

A convenient way to distinguish between a largemouth bass and a spotted bass is by the size of the mouth. A spotted bass will resemble a largemouth bass in coloration but will have a smaller mouth.

M. punctulatus can reach an overall length of almost 64 cm (25 in), reaching weights of up to 4.6 kg (10 lb). It can reach an age of at least seven years. It is noted for the rows of dark spots below the lateral line, which give it its common name.

Preferring cool and warm mountain streams and reservoirs with rocky bottoms, the spotted bass feeds on insects, crustaceans, frogs, annelid worms, and smaller fish.

In 2010, the scientific community officially recognized a separate subspecies of spotted bass, native to the Tallapoosa and Coosa Rivers, and their lakes. This species is commonly known as the "Alabama spotted bass" (M. henshalli) and known locally as the "Coosa spotted bass", not to be confused with the "red-eye Coosa bass" found in northeast Georgia.[1]

The Alabama spotted is highly prized as a gamefish and average size is much larger than the more common Kentucky spotted bass. The current record spotted bass, caught in pine Flat Lake, California, weighed 10.27 lb. [2]

Typical spotted bass From Tallapoosa River near Tallassee, Alabama (released)

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