The largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) is a freshwater fish in the sunfish family (Centrarchidae) of order Perciformes. One of the black basses, it is native to a wide area east of the Rocky Mountains in North America, encompassing the Mississippi River basin, the Saint Lawrence River”“Great Lakes system, and up into the Hudson Bay basin, as well as down into Florida, Texas, and northeastern Mexico.
The largemouth bass is distinguished by a series of dark blotches forming a ragged horizontal stripe along the length of each side, and its upper jaw extends beyond the back of the eye. The largest of the black basses, it has reached a maximum recorded overall length of 38 in (97 cm), and a maximum recorded weight of 22 lb (10 kg). It can live as long as 23 years.
M. salmoides prefers a habitat of warm, calm, clear water and is usually found in slow-moving streams, ponds, lakes, and reservoirs. The predatory largemouth bass eats other fish, frogs, crayfish (even small ducklings) ““ basically any animal it can swallow. It is reported to be cannibalistic. The young feed primarily on smaller crustaceans and fish, as well as insects.
Females can lay up to a million eggs during each spawning.
This species is highly sought after for recreational fishing. It has been very widely introduced for this purpose throughout the world, and is now considered cosmopolitan. In some counties, its introduction has damaged ecosystems and harmed native species, and IUCN considers it one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species.
The largemouth bass is the state fish of Mississippi.
The largemouth bass is also known as the Oswego bass.