Micropterus punctulatus
Micropterus punctulatus
(Spotted Bass)
Native Transplant
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Micropterus punctulatus (Rafinesque, 1819)

Common name: Spotted Bass

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Moyle (1976); Hubbs et al. (1991); Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993); Jenkins and Burkhead (1994). This species was formerly composed of three subspecies: the northern Spotted Bass (M. p. punctulatus), the Alabama Spotted Bass (M. p. henshalli) and the Wichita Spotted Bass (M. p. wichitae). Cofer (1995) determined the Wichita subspecies was actually a hybrid with M. dolomieu and is therefore invalid.

Size: 61 cm.

Native Range: Mississippi River basin from southern Ohio and West Virginia to southeastern Kansas, and south to the Gulf; Gulf Slope drainages from the Chattahoochee River, Georgia (where possibly introduced), to the Guadalupe River, Texas (Page and Burr 1991).

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Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Introduced into the Chattahoochee River, Alabama (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Yerger 1977); the Verde system and West Clear Creek, Arizona (Miller and Lowe 1967; Minckley 1973; MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975); several areas of California (McKechnie 1966b; MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975; Moyle 1976; Shapovalov et al. 1981; Dill and Cordone 1997; Tilmant 1999; Sommer et al. 2001); the Arkansas drainage in Colorado (Walker 1993; Rasmussen 1998); the Apalachicola River in Florida (Yerger 1977; Williams and Burgess, in prep.; museum specimens); the Chattahoochee, Altamaha (Oconee) (Dahlberg and Scott 1971a, 1971b; Yerger 1977; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.), Flint (Sammons 2012), and Savannah (MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975) drainages in Georgia; the Iowa-Cedar River drainage, the Middle Raccoon River, Whitebreast Creek, Coralville Reservoir, and Lake MacBride in Iowa (MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975; Burr and Page 1986; Harlan et al. 1987); many rivers in Kansas including those in the Osage and Kansas drainages (Cross 1967; MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975; Cross and Collins 1995); the upper Cumberland River, Kentucky (Burr and Warren 1986); Salt, Osage, Gasconade, Grand, and Moreau drainages, and the Lamine, Perche, Loutre systems in Missouri (Pflieger 1971; MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975; Pflieger 1975; Burr and Page 1986; Cross et al. 1986); a pond in Lincoln County (Jones 1963), the Niobrara and Platte rivers, and the Walgreen, Harlan County, and Box Butte reservoirs in Nebraska (Morris et al. 1974; MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975); Eagle Valley Creek and Eagle Valley Reservoir, Nevada (La Rivers 1962; Deacon and Williams 1984; Sigler and Sigler 1987); the Pecos and Black rivers and Sumner Reservoir in New Mexico (MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975; Sublette et al. 1990); the Yadkin, Dan, Cape Fear, Catawba, and Roanoke drainages in North Carolina (Menhinick 1991); central Oklahoma (MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975); the Savannah drainage (MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975) in tributaries of the Enoree, Saluda, and Savannah Rivers in South Carolina (Sigler and Sigler 1987; Rohde et al. 2009); Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee (Kuhne 1939); the Medina River, and the Colorado, Red-Lake Texoma, Red-Washita, Red-Sulphur, San Marcos, and Guadalupe drainages in Texas (Hubbs 1954; Hubbs et al. 1968; MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975; Red River Authority of Texas 2001); the Little Bear River in Cache Valley, Utah (Sigler and Sigler 1987); the York, New, Roanoke, and James drainages in Virginia (MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Hocutt et al. 1986; Page and Burr 1991; Jenkins and Burkhead 1994); and introduced, but possibly native, to the Kanawha drainage above the falls (New) in West Virginia (MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975; Hocutt et al. 1986; Jenkins and Burkhead 1994; Burkhead, personal communication).

Means of Introduction: Intentional stocking for sportfishing. In Missouri, the Spotted Bass was stocked in the Sac River and spread downstream through the Osage River into the Missouri River (MacCrimmon and Robbins 1975).

Status: Established in most locations. Probably not established in Colorado.

Impact of Introduction: The Spotted Bass hybridizes with the smallmouth bass when stocked in the smallmouth bass's native range or when both species are stocked in the same area. Spotted Bass introduced into central Missouri have hybridized with the native smallmouth bass M. dolomieu (Pflieger and Fajen 1970; Pflieger 1975, 1997; Whitmore 1983). Reportedly, the decline of smallmouth populations in the Moreau drainage in Missouri is at least partly attributable to hybridization with introduced Spotted Bass (Pflieger 1997). The hybrid has been also been found in the Verde River, Arizona (Minckley 1973); California (Moyle 1976); and the Marmaton River, Barbour County, Kansas (Cross 1967; museum specimen KU 4682). The form formerly believed to be the subspecies M. p. wichitae from southwest Oklahoma was determined to be this hybrid (Cofer 1995). Sammons (2012) found significant overlap in diets between juvenile and subadult Spotted Bass and juveniles and subadults of both largemouth (M. salmoides) and shoal (M. cataractae) bass, indicating the potential for trophic competition.

Introduced predatory centrarchids are likely responsible for the decline of native ranid frogs in California and for the decline of California tiger salamander Ambystoma californiense populations (Hayes and Jennings 1986; Dill and Cordone 1997).

Remarks: Introduced bass likely affect populations of small fishes through predation. Two subspecies have been transplanted: M. p. punctulatus in Alabama (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.), California (Dill and Cordone 1997), Florida, Georgia (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.), Kansas (Cross and Collins 1995), Kentucky (Burr and Warren 1986), North Carolina (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.), Texas (Hubbs 1954), Virginia (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Jenkins and Burkhead 1994) and probably West Virginia; and M. p. henshalli in California (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Dill and Cordone 1997), and the upper Chattahoochee drainage in Georgia (JDW, personal observation). Subspecies identity of other introductions is unknown. Native and introduced in the Tennessee drainage in North Carolina (Menhinick 1991). Not listed as occurring in South Carolina by Loyacano (1975) or by Rohde et al. (1994). Stauffer et al. (1995) listed this species as native but possibly introduced in the Kanawha (including the New) drainage, West Virginia. MacCrimmon and Robbins (1975) showed a map depicting this species' native and introduced range.

References: (click for full references)

Cofer, L.M. 1995. Invalidation of the Wichita spotted bass, Micropterus punctulatus wichitae, subspecies theory. Copeia 1995(2): 487-490.

Cross, F.B. 1967. Handbook of fishes of Kansas. State Biological Survey and University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Misc Publ No 45 Topeka, KS.

Dill, W.A., and A.J. Cordone. 1997. History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996. Fish Bulletin 178. California Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento, CA. http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt8p30069f&brand=calisphere&doc.view=entire_text.

Hayes, M.P., and M.R. Jennings. 1986. Decline of ranid frog species in western North America: are bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) responsible? Journal of Herpetology 20(4):490-509.

Hubbs, C., and A. E. Peden. 1968. Notes on the distribution of blackbass (Micropterus) in the San Marcos River, Hays County, Texas. Texas Journal of Science, 20(2): 193-194.

Minckley, W.L. 1973. Fishes of Arizona. Arizona Fish and Game Department Sims Printing Company, Inc, Phoenix, AZ.

Moyle, P.B. 1976. Inland fishes of California. University of California Press Berkeley, CA.

Pflieger, W.L. 1975. The fishes of Missouri. Missouri Department of Conservation.

Pflieger, W.L. 1997. The fishes of Missouri. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, MO.

Pflieger, W.L. and O. Fajen. 1970. Natural hybrids, smallmouth bass x spotted bass. Abstracts Fisheries Resource Reports Missouri Department of Conservation Division of Fisheries 9:37.

Rasmussen, J.L. 1998. Aquatic nuisance species of the Mississippi River basin. 60th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Aquatic Nuisance Species Symposium, Dec. 7, 1998, Cincinnati, OH.

Red River Authority of Texas. 2001. Red and Canadian Basins Fish Inventory: Grayson County. Red River Authority of Texas.

Red River Authority of Texas. 2001. Red and Canadian Basins Fish Inventory: Cottle County. Red River Authority of Texas.

Red River Authority of Texas. 2001. Red and Canadian Basins Fish Inventory: Red River County. Red River Authority of Texas.

Rohde, F. C., R. G. Arndt, J. W. Foltz, and J. M. Quattro. 2009. Freshwater fishes of South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC.

Sammons, S.M. 2012. Diets of juvenile and sub-adult size classes of three Micropterus spp. in the Flint River, Georgia: potential for trophic competition. Southeastern Naturalist 11(3):387-404.

Shapovalov, L., A.J. Cordone, and W.A. Dill. 1981. A list of freshwater and anadromous fishes of California. California Fish and Game. 67(1): 4-38.

Sigler, W.F. and J.W. Sigler. 1987. Fishes of the Great Basin: a natural history. Univerity of Nevada Press. Reno, NV. 425 pp.

Sommer, T, B. Harrell, M. Nobriga, R. Brown, P. Moyle, W. Kimmerer, and L. Schemel. 2001. California's Yolo Bypass: Evidence that flood control can be compatible with fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, and agriculture. Fisheries. American Fisheries Society. 26 (8): 6-16.

Tilmant, J.T. 1999. Management of nonindigenous aquatic fish in the U.S. National Park System. National Park Service. 50 pp.

Whitmore, D.H. 1983. Introgressive hybridization of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui) and Guadalupe bass. Copeia 1983(3):672-679.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, Matt Cannister, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 11/5/2012

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, Matt Cannister, and Matt Neilson, 2018, Micropterus punctulatus (Rafinesque, 1819): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=397, Revision Date: 11/5/2012, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 3/22/2018

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [3/22/2018].

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