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images courtesy of noaa.gov

Bass is a name shared by many different species of popular game fish. The term encompasses both freshwater and marine species, many of which are native to North America and surrounding waters. All belong to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes, and in fact the word bass comes from Middle English bars, meaning "perch."


 


image courtesy of noaa.govThe striped bass (Morone saxatilis) and white bass (M. chrysops), which belong to the family Moronidae, are popular North American game fish. They are also referred to as temperate bass. The striped bass is anadromous, spending much of its life in the ocean and returning to fresh water to spawn. It is native to the western Atlantic Ocean and freshwater rivers of eastern North America, although it has been introduced to other countries. The white bass, in contrast, remains in fresh water its whole life. It is native to North America, including the Saint Lawrence River, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River basin, and the Rio Grande. Striped bass are known colloquially as "stripers," and hybrids between striped and white bass are known as "wipers."

image courtesy of noaa.govThe largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu), spotted bass (M. punctulatus), and rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris) belong to the sunfish family, Centrarchidae. These bass are also referred to as warm water basses or black basses. Native to various parts of North America, they are also popular gamefish. Largemouth bass have been introduced as gamefish throughout the world and have had adverse effects on local ecologies in some areas. Florida largemouth bass (M. salmoides floridanus) grow faster in warm water than northern largemouth bass (M. salmoides salmoides) and are therefore popular in stocking programs in the United States.

The Australian bass (Macquaria novemaculeata) is a member of the perch family, Percichthyidae. It is native to coastal waterways along the east coast of Australia from east of Wilson's Promontory in Victoria east and north along the eastern seaboard to the rivers and creeks of the Bundaberg region in central Queensland. Though a freshwater fish, it can also tolerate brackish water and in fact must breed in estuarine waters. Consequently, Australian Bass are migratory, and reside in fresh water for the warmer half of the year or slightly more and the estuarine reaches in winter.

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 Kingdom: Animalia

 Phylum: Chordata

 Class: Actinopterygii

 Order: Perciformes

 Family: Moronidae