Hate to bring this up again but figured it could be interesting given that it is accepted as a species on FishBase now. Interested to hear your opinions, I know some of us have been counting them as a separate species in our personal lifelists.
I have been wondering for a while what fish scientists thought about this topic since it was first proposed that M. salmoides floridanus should be designated a seperate species. I haven't found any indication on the internet that there is a consensus among fisheries taxonomists, but maybe it's just too recent.
And, yes there's a Fishbase entry for it, but it basically says nothing (no pictures, no description)
I've emailed Dr. Mike Allen at Univ. of Florida to see if he knows the current status. He's their freshwater fisheries professor. I'll let everyone know if/when I get a reply.
Whether it is a distinct species or not, it could be problematic for Roughfish members. As I understand it, you can't definitively differentiate the two animals without genetic analysis. So, nobody's going to be able to tell from a photo whether it's really a Florida Largemouth (unless it's over 14 pounds or so?) Do we arbitrarily set a latitude below which we call the fish 'Floridas' and above that they are 'Northerns'?
And as everyone knows, the two strains regularly hybridize, so that just makes it more problematic.
Thanks! I look forward to hearing his response. As for IDing them for Roughfish lifelist purposes, I would also agree to base it off of range. Apparently the populations down in the everglades remain relativey pure. This is already done with some other species on the site where physical ID traits aren't super obvious. Ex: the alabama bass entries from NC that were thought to be spotted bass until it was discovered that the populations were in fact introduced alabama's. And other situations where the split species is confined to a given range..
As Uconn said, even if they are different there is no way to distinguish the difference from a photo. It's just a largemouth bass.
Planning a trip to Florida myself so this is something I have looked into. Article shows a difference in scale count between the two subspecies. Came accross another article regarding hybrids between the two, I'll try to find ... but there is a lateral line where it stated hybrids are not found below due to carefull stocking to protect any possible future diversity between the two. Everything I have found shows no progress toward the Florida Bass becoming a species of it's own in the near future. Could change anytime of course.
This article sums up the difficulty using scale counts to differentiate between pure Florida vs. Northern Largemouth with quotes from Rick Ott (Texas Inland Fisheries).
Now of course Texas is where they deliberately stocked both Florida and hybrid strains, so everything is F---'ed up there taxonomically.
BradleyR is probably right about Everglades bass being pure Florida (I did some scale counts on a couple of my photos from there and they seemed correct), but I wouldn't bet on anything from mid-state northward.
BTW - the State of Florida is vehement about warning people to keep those damn northerners out of their state (bass that is)
You might be safe in some of those California lakes like Casitas that have been stocked with only Floridas (at least to my knowledge)
See Mike Allen's response below:
As I suspected, people haven't agreed so that's why you can find the fish referenced as either M. salmoides floridanus or M. floridanus depending on what the individual biologist thinks.
My recommendation is to play it conservative on any new species designation. i.e. stay with the traditional way until there's a strong consensus among fisheries scientists to do otherwise.
My reply to Mike:
That's about what I suspected since I was seeing some people calling it a separate species and some not (the 'I'm right, they're wrong' system?).
I agree that it should be designated a species if only to highlight conservation efforts. Seems like they could be easily wiped out through hybridization because the Northerns are so damn adaptable.
Allen,Micheal S wrote:
I think that most fishery scientists are now recognizing Florida Bass as a distinct species, in the literature. However, the Name of Fishes book from AFS has still not made the change, so it seems to me to be a debate on a case by case basis depending on who is the editor of the journal and the reviewers. In my view there are clear differences in behavior, growth, and genetic composition that should allow floridanus to be a distinct species. However, of course they regularly hybridize with salmoides and are difficult to tell about with meristics, so the debate does continue..... Hope this helps. Mike
Micheal S. Allen Director- UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station Professor/Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences/SFRC University of Florida/IFAS (352) 325-6077 Office (352) 258-3454 Cell
I see, good to know. Thank you much for asking and sharing this info. I think I will count it as a distinct species on my personal lifelist seeing as this is becoming the trend in literature. But I do understand why Roughfish does not inlcude it :)
I do see the value in splitting them for conservation purposes if the scientific community agrees on the variation. However, for the purposes of lifelisting it's just a bugbear to tell the difference. I don't think anyone can tell.
So, I looked up the American Fisheries Society's official list of scientific and common fish names and the most recent one I can find is the 7th Edition (2013).
The 6th edition was published in 2004, so it may be a few years before we see an another updated one.
At any rate, this publication represents their accepted list of fish species to date and of course new ones are reclassified and described all the time.
As of 2013, the AFS officially recognizes 8 species of Micropterus, unlike this excellent article which also includes the Florida Bass:
So we'll see what the future brings for these animals...
Thanks for the links! I've been looking for that fish list for a while but never found it haha. And that list of other black bass really makes me want to take a trip down south!