Theses and Dissertations

Title: Systematics of Micropterus p. punctulatus and M.p. henshalli, and life history of M.p. henshalli

Name: Gilbert, Jr Ronald Joe

Degree: PhD

Chair: Dr. John S. Ramsey


University: Auburn

Location: Auburn, Alabama

Date: 1973

Pages: 146

Keywords: Systematics,Micropterus p. punctulatus,M.p. henshalli,Life History.


All specimens of Micropterus punctulatus housed at Auburn University, Tulane University, University of Alabama, and University of Louisville were examined to determine the range of M. p. punctulatus, the northern spotted bass, and M. p. henshalli, the Alabama spotted bass. Extensive collecting in the Mobile Bay drainage above the Fall Line was conducted to provide specimens for life history study of M. p. henshalli.Numerous meristic counts and body measurements indicated that M. p. henshalli is restricted to an area above the Fall Line in the Mobile Bay drainage. An area of intergradation exists in the lower Mobile Bay drainage. Micropterus p. punctulatus occurs from the Guadalupe River drainage in Texas through the Choctawhatchee River drainage in Florida, excluding the Mobile Bay drainage. Micropterus p. punctulatus appears to be introduced in the Apalachicola drainage. Micropterus punctulatus apparently originated in the Mississippi River basin. Presumably the stock that developed into M. p. henshalli was isolated in the upper Mobile Bay drainage during repeated inundations of the Coastal Plain. As inundations receded M. p. punctulatus reinvaded the Gulf coast drainages. Apparently subsequent stocks of M. p. punctulatus could not penetrate above the Fall Line in the Mobile Bay drainage. Micropterus p. henshalli stock could move down the drainage. Isolation of the Mobile Bay drainage has apparently reduced the influence of M. p. punctulatus in the lower Mobile Bay drainage. Micropterus p. henshalli differs from M. p. punctulatus in several aspects of life history. Growth is slower in M. p. henshalli. Greatest growth in reservoirs occurs in the fourth year. Micropterus p. henshalli reaches a greater maximum size. Micropterus p. henshalli is highly piscivorous. The Alabama spotted bass is less fecund than other Micropterus. Alabama spotted bass thrive in deep oligotrophic lakes of the upper Mobile Bay drainage. In Lake Lewis Smith and Lake Martin, M. p. henshalli is the most abundant bass. Attempts to collect large numbers of spotted bass from river channels in Alabama were unsuccessful.

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