Florida Largemouth Bass

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RoughFish
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Florida Largemouth Bass

Feel like this may have been convered, but is this being acknowledged on roughfish? If so, is it labeled differently under the lifelist species bar ?

BradleyR
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The 2019 AFS January report

The 2019 AFS January report "Conservation of Black Bass Diversity" lists them as a separate species, saying that the only remaining confusion is about the ranges of the 2 species, not whether they are the same or not. Here's a table from the report with the latin names of the different Black Bass:

RoughFish
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Thanks Brad! I just dont see

Thanks Brad! I just dont see the option available in the drop down box (could just be an idiot). Maybe Andy or Corey will chime in?

BradleyR
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Oh yeah, I shoulda mentionned

Oh yeah, I shoulda mentionned, not considered a species by RoughFish as far as I know. Check this thread:

http://www.roughfish.com/content/please-add-florida-largemouth-bass-micropterus-floridanus

Corey
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Florida Largemouths

I have yet to see a method for distinguishing that supposed species from other species. The California populations, in particular, and the Florida Largemouths stocked all over the midwest over the last 60 years. If anyone can give me a method for determining if a fish is a Florida Largemouth, I'll consider it. Location doesn't count.

uconn fishhead
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Florida Bass

Yep, I would be very surprised if the next AFS list of fish scientific and common names does not distinguish the Florida Largemouth.  Very few biologists still believe they should still be designated as subspecies.

Of course, there are plenty of other fish species that can only be reliably ID'd given the location (example, Spotted vs. Alabama Bass).

If we choose to accept Florida Largemouth on Roughfish, the only way we could be relatively certain is if the fish was from central or south Florida.  Those along the Panhandle/Jacksonville line are reported to be mostly intergrades (Robbins et al.).  And those from California, Texas et al. are 'who knows what' unless they're over 13 pounds or so.

BradleyR
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Yep, what he said!

Yep, what he said!

USGS says: "Micropterus s. floridanus typically has 31 or more branches on the pyloric caeca (second stomach), 65-77 (typically 69-73) lateral scales, and 27-34 (typically 29-31) scales around the caudal peduncle. The Northern Largemouth Bass (Micropterus s. salmoides) typically has fewer than 28 branches on the pyloric caeca, 58-69 (typically 59-67) lateral scales, and 24-32 (typically 27-28) scales around the caudal peduncle (Robins et al. 2018)." 

 

That being said, other sources suggest that only genetics or location can reliably differentiate the species. But isn't that the case for many other species on RoughFish? Even other Black Bass like some of the Redeye Bass complex or Spotted vs Alabama as uconn fishhead points out.

Corey
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Right

I'll consider it.

pmk00001
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I think recognizing Florida

I think recognizing Florida Bass as a species will create all sorts of identification problems.  Unlike most Lepomis hybrids FL/NLMB hybrids can reproduce and once one or the other are introduced into the gene pool they basically pollute it forever, which is problematic for species that don't have obvious morphological differences.

The Florida Bass has been widely stocked and the intergrade zone stretches from the Florida panhandle North to Maryland and West to Texas.  They've also been stocked in Southern California.  The VDGIF allowed a bunch of "tiger bass" to be stocked as recently as this past Summer.  I'd have problems seperating hybrids from non-hybrids.

Having said that when I catch a Bass way down in South Florida I do feel it's different, but I'd have trouble explaining why I do. (and I'm not about to count branches of the pyloric caeca!)

 

RoughFish
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them one species. Other

them one species. Other species like Roanoke hogsucker or shadow bass have actual distinguishing characteristics. If you took the largemouth bass in the NE and NW and compared their DNA they would most likely be different, but are we going to have Maine bass and Washington bass etc? A line needs to be drawn or every states going to have a lot more endemic species......Anyways, enough with the semi-rant....let me know when I can add my Florida bass : ) 

 

sorry for the triple post, roughfish does not work well from a phone.

uconn fishhead
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We are Stuck with the Species Concept

Sorry, this is a little long and rambling, but if you have nothing else to do…

The species concept is conceptually useful, but frustratingly elusive to work with even for scientists.  There are even different definitions for the term depending on context (Google “Species define” and see Wikipedia if you wish your head to spin)

At the most basic level, a species is a taxon that capable of reproducing.  But different species do not have to be physically distinguishable, merely reproductively isolated (at least mostly so).  And having offspring that can reproduce does not necessarily mean that the two parents are the same species because the hybrids often have a reduced “fitness” to survive in nature.  They are usually not as tuned into their specific environments as the parent species, so reproducing hybrids typically disappear from or are assimilated by populations over generations.

Scientists are constantly redescribing species as they learn more about them.  And the advent of genetic analyses has caused this process to accelerate.

One thing that’s for sure, we anglers can’t decide for ourselves what is a species and what’s not. This is done through the consensus of taxonomists. Good thing we have AFS and scientific organizations like them to do the deciding for us.

Keep in mind that the jury is still out on Florida Largemouths until AFS publishes the next official fish species list.  The publication cited by Bradley is perhaps an indication that AFS is moving toward recognizing M. floridanus, but as a standalone it merely represents the opinion of the authors.

I think we at Roughfish should follow AFS species conventions.  However, Corey is wise in that we should also be conservative about the taxon we use/allow because we’re only using photographs to ID them.  Two examples that immediately come to mind are that Florida Peacock Bass and Sailfin Catfish (Pterygoplichthys sp.) cannot be reliably ID’d to species because of uncertain origin and/or rampant hybridization. So in these cases, it doesn’t matter what the fish “look like”, outside of their original rang we can’t be sure what they are without genetic analysis. 

DocEsox
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Largemouth taxonomy

I addressed this question of species/subspecies of Florida largemouth last year to the powers that be on the facebook page:  American Fisheries Society Black Bass Conservation Committee and received this is return:

I study fish taxonomy a lot.....especially salmonids and black bass. Have come into debate on several occasions as to whether Largemouth bass (S. salmoides) and Florida bass (S. floridanus) are currently recognized as distinct species (obviously by how I wrote this that is my opinion) or whether they are considered subspecies. What does academia say about this.......and the AFS??? Any help here guys, you do seem to be on the cutting edge for black bass.....

 

Hi Brian. As with so many things regarding taxonomy, the answer is "it depends." Some recognize them as species, others hold to the subspecies level. AFS has not yet recognized them as species. I know one of the biggest reservations some folks have concerns the natural intergrade zone, which is usually not found between two distinct species (ie, you don't have a natural intergrade zone between spotted bass and Alabama bass, even though they occupy adjacent drainages. Also, I do not believe that the species elevation has been accepted in a stand-alone, peer-reviewed journal (just a few edited books), which means officially, they should still be subspecies. That being said, Florida recognizes them as species. And you can find papers in both main AFS journals where the fish are considered subspecies and species. I think that is more of an error in the editorial process, because according to AFS Names of Fishes, they should still be subspecies. Personally, I tend to stand with the subspecies folks, because the intergrade zone argument is a pretty compelling one to me. Yes the fish have genetic differences and slight morphometric differences, but I also like to see a little biogeographic differences, as well as biological differences. But I am not a taxonomist by any means, so I tend to just duck my head and let them duke it out. BTW - this si Steve Sammons at Auburn. Thanks for the message!

 

Chat Conversation End

 

 

uconn fishhead
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'Natural' Intergrade Zone?

I'd be willing to bet the the 'natural' intergrade zone for Largemouths is not so natural.  If there's one fish that people (whether they be biologists or anglers) have rampantly moved around, it's the Largemouth.