The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Micropterus punctulatus
Micropterus punctulatus
(Spotted Bass)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
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).

Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Micropterus punctulatus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AL1968199626Apalachicola Basin; Cahaba; Locust; Lower Alabama; Lower Black Warrior; Lower Coosa; Lower Tallapoosa; Lower Tombigbee; Middle Alabama; Middle Chattahoochee-Lake Harding; Middle Chattahoochee-Walter F; Middle Coosa; Middle Tallapoosa; Middle Tombigbee-Chickasaw; Middle Tombigbee-Lubbub; Mobile Bay; Mobile-Tensaw; Mulberry; Noxubee; Sipsey; Sipsey Fork; Sucarnoochee; Upper Alabama; Upper Black Warrior; Upper Coosa; Upper Tallapoosa
AZ194219732Lower Verde; Verde
CA1933200218California Region; Clear Creek-Sacramento River; Honcut Headwaters-Lower Feather; Los Angeles; Lower American; Lower Sacramento; Middle Fork Feather; Middle San Joaquin-Lower Chowchilla; San Diego; San Pablo Bay; Santa Ana; South Fork American; Tomales-Drake Bays; Upper Calaveras California; Upper Cosumnes; Upper Kern; Upper San Joaquin; Upper Yuba
CO198520093Middle South Platte-Cherry Creek; Upper Arkansas; Upper Arkansas-Lake Meredith
FL194119803Apalachicola; Lower Chattahoochee; Lower Flint
GA1959201916Altamaha; Apalachicola Basin; Broad; Coosawattee; Etowah; Ichawaynochaway; Lower Flint; Middle Chattahoochee-Lake Harding; Middle Chattahoochee-Walter F; Middle Flint; Oostanaula; Upper Chattahoochee; Upper Flint; Upper Ocmulgee; Upper Oconee; Upper Savannah
IL200820093Cache; Kishwaukee; Mackinaw
IA196320014Lake Red Rock; Lower Iowa; Middle Iowa; South Raccoon
KS196719955Kansas; Little Osage; Middle Kansas; Missouri-Nishnabotna; Osage
KY198619861Upper Cumberland
MS199120153Tibbee; Town; Upper Tombigbee
MO1935200923Big; Bourbeuse; Cahokia-Joachim; Chariton; Grand; Harry S. Truman Reservoir; Lake of the Ozarks; Lamine; Lower Gasconade; Lower Missouri; Lower Missouri-Moreau; Lower Osage; Meramec; Niangua; Peruque-Piasa; Pomme De Terre; Sac; Salt; South Fork Salt; Thompson; Upper Grand; Upper Mississippi-Salt; Whitewater
NE197419745Harlan County Reservoir; Middle Niobrara; Middle Platte-Buffalo; Niobrara Headwaters; Upper Niobrara
NV198320013Lower Humboldt; Meadow Valley Wash; Middle Carson
NJ199719971Lower Delaware
NM199019902Pecos Headwaters; Upper Pecos-Black
NC1983201725Black; Cape Fear; Fishing; Haw; Hiwassee; Lower Cape Fear; Lower Little Tennessee; Lower Yadkin; Lumber; Nolichucky; Northeast Cape Fear; Pigeon; Roanoke; Rocky; South Yadkin; Tuckasegee; Upper Broad; Upper Cape Fear; Upper Catawba; Upper Dan; Upper French Broad; Upper Little Tennessee; Upper New; Upper Yadkin; Watauga, North Carolina, Tennessee
OK198019802Lower North Fork Red; West Cache
OR200220083Coast Fork Willamette; Upper Rogue; Upper Willamette
PA198319831Upper Ohio
SC197520216Enoree; Saluda; Seneca; Tugaloo; Upper Broad; Upper Savannah
TX195420137Lower Colorado-Cummins; Medina; Middle Brazos-Palo Pinto; Red-Washita; San Marcos; Upper West Fork Trinity; Wichita
UT198719871Middle Bear
VA1973201110Albemarle-Chowan; Appomattox; James; Kanawha; Middle New; Middle Roanoke; Nottoway; Pamunkey; Roanoke; York
WA198719871Pacific Northwest Region
WV198119932Middle New; Upper Ohio-Wheeling

Table last updated 6/16/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

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: 9/4/2019

Peer Review Date: 11/5/2012

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, Matt Cannister, and Matt Neilson, 2024, 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: 9/4/2019, Peer Review Date: 11/5/2012, Access Date: 6/16/2024

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. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [6/16/2024].

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