Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Last Unidentified Sport Fish In North America Gets A Scientific Name

Date:
January 20, 2000
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
This is no tall fish story. Scientists have identified a new species of bass, making the finned fighter likely the last game fish in North America to get a scientific name, says a University of Florida researcher.

Writer: Cathy Keen

Related Articles


Source: George Burgess, (352) 392-1721, gburgess@flmnh.ufl.edu

PHOTO AVAILABLE

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- This is no tall fish story. Scientists have identified a new species of bass, making the finned fighter likely the last game fish in North America to get a scientific name, says a University of Florida researcher.

"It's the end of an era in the sense that all the other bass and trout were discovered long ago, mostly in the 1700s and 1800s," said George Burgess, a UF ichthyologist who worked to establish the fish as a separate species. "From now on, scientists likely will describe only the smaller, cryptic species that have avoided detection despite our best efforts."

Burgess and James D. Williams, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey Laboratory in Gainesville, describe the new species of bass, called Micropterus cataractae and found in rivers in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, in the Oct. 8 edition of the journal "The Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History."

The species getting a scientific name has actually been known by anglers for the last 50 years as the shoal bass because it thrives in the shoals of rivers, Burgess said. But no one was certain the fish was different from its closest relative, the spotted bass until Williams and Burgess noted key differences including coloration, absence of teeth on the tongue and number of rows of scales.

"Our research should put to rest any questions about whether it's a valid species or merely a variant of one of the other species," Burgess said. "It's pretty much a slam dunk as far as we're concerned, and the scientific community already is aware of the fish."

As with all wildlife, the first species to be described are the most prominent, generally leaving only small critters and insects to be named, he said.

"When the first biologists trekked across America, expeditiously putting their hooks and nets in the water for the first time and shooting birds out of the sky and mammals out of the hills, the first creatures to be discovered were those that were particularly easy to catch and shoot," Burgess said. "What's exciting about this species is that it's a big fish and probably will be the last sport fish to be described in North American waters."

Scientific identification of the fish is of interest to Florida's huge sport-fishing industry, Burgess said, because it paves the way for conservation efforts to begin.

Shoal bass face many threats including dams, human population sprawl and the introduction of non-native fish species, he said.

"Largemouth bass are the primary species for sport fishing in freshwater here in Florida," he said. "There are numerous bass fishing tournaments that attract thousands of people to the state every year. The shoal bass, being a relative of the largemouth bass, generates significant interest among anglers in Florida as well as Georgia and Alabama."

The shoal bass is much rarer than the largemouth bass because it has a geographically limited range and more particular habitat requirements, Burgess said.

Williams said shoal bass are threatened by habitat loss caused by a series of dams on the Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola rivers. Unlike other bass found in deep reservoirs and rivers, the shoal bass survives only in shoal areas in rivers and large creeks.

Booming population growth around Atlanta is diminishing the quality of the Flint River, another favorite haunt of the shoal bass, he said.

And a potential future problem is whether the shoal bass will face competition for food and habitat as other species of fish are introduced into Southeastern rivers, he said.

"Now that we finally have formal recognition of this new species of bass, we can move forward in carrying out conservation programs and habitat protection programs that we couldn't do in the past without a scientific name or description," Williams said.

Dewitt Galloway, an avid fisherman from Apalachicola who serves on the board of directors of the Florida Bass Federation, said he was not surprised by the news. "I've known about shoal bass for quite awhile," he said. "I've caught some up in the Flint River, where the water is very clear and it's really swift moving in the upper regions."

-30-

Note to reporters/editors: Color or black & white photo available with this story. For information, please call News & Public Affairs photography at (352) 392-9092.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "Last Unidentified Sport Fish In North America Gets A Scientific Name." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000119103642.htm>.
University Of Florida. (2000, January 20). Last Unidentified Sport Fish In North America Gets A Scientific Name. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000119103642.htm
University Of Florida. "Last Unidentified Sport Fish In North America Gets A Scientific Name." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000119103642.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) — Learn how to make a mixed green salad topped with a pan-seared camembert cheese in only a minute! Music: Courtesy of Audio Network. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) — It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) — Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins