Wednesday June 20, 2012

If you have been following our Field Notes posts, then you will recall from Last Meal that we are currently identifying the stomach contents of hundreds of predatory fishes. So far, one of the more interesting finds was a largemouth bass captured with the tail of a 9-inch alligator lizard hanging out of its mouth. Apparently, there aren’t many critters that a largemouth bass won’t try to consume. They have been known to eat crayfish, frogs, turtles, rodents, waterfowl and many fish species.

This lizard is more than half the length of the bass, but research indicates that mouth gape, rather than the length of prey, limits the maximum size of prey species (Hambright 2011). As most bass fishermen know, largemouth bass are aggressive and opportunistic predators that may eat whatever creature they can ambush. They mainly hunt by hiding under cover and waiting for prey to swim close before advancing upon their prey at remarkable speed and quickly opening their immense jaws to create a vacuum effect that helps suck in the prey. It’s dangerous to be any small animal, regardless of species, inhabiting water occupied by largemouth bass.

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