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Fish

 

Sunfishes

Largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides.
Largemouth bass,
Micropterus salmoides.

Class: Bony fish
Order: Perch, darters, sunfishes, bass
Family: Sunfishes

Species found in the Rideau River:
Rock bass, pumpkinseed, bluegill, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, black crappie

Characteristics of the family:
Sunfishes (which are sometimes called pan fish) have oval shaped bodies. They have dorsal fins that are divided into a spiny half in front and soft-rayed half behind. There is no adipose fin. The anal fin has three or more spines. The tail is moderately forked and gill covers have a rearward projection called a gill flap.


Representative species: Largemouth bass
Description The largemouth bass is the largest member of the sunfish family. Compared to other sunfishes, it is relatively elongated and robust. The body of the largemouth bass is greenish in colour with a pronounced black stripe running along the side.
Size 20 cm to 38 cm
Distribution Range through Ontario and Quebec in Canada and throughout the eastern half of the United States. It is found in the Rideau River south of Ottawa.
Habitat Largemouth bass prefer areas with clear water, vegetation and rocky bottoms.
Food Insects, crustaceans, molluscs, small fish. Larger sunfishes eat mostly fish, crayfish and frogs.
Life cycle Sunfishes spawn in spring or early summer. Eggs are laid in round nests dug in vegetated areas. Males guard the eggs and newly hatched young for up to a month.
Interesting facts Sometimes largemouth bass share their nests with golden shiners! These small minnows scatter their eggs in largemouth bass nests and then abandon them.

 

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Largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides.
Largemouth bass,
Micropterus salmoides.
A Project of the Canadian Museum of Nature
 Images: Hemera, Smithsonian Institution, NMNH, Division of Fishes