Performance as a fish predator of largemouth bass [Micropterus salmoides(Lacepède)] invading Japanese freshwaters: a review

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This review focuses on how predator performance of the invasive largemouth bass [Micropterus salmoides (Lacepède)] has been, or will be, formed in Japanese freshwaters. Predation impacts of largemouth bass on fish communities appear pervasive in both Japanese as well as North American freshwaters. Factors affecting performance as a piscivorous predator are (1) light intensity and water clarity, (2) oxygen depletion, (3) prey size and gape size, (4) behavioral refuge of prey, (5) weed beds as refuge for prey fish, (6) interaction with bluegill. Size and behavioral refuges requirements are so rigorous that they may have evolved only in some North American prey fish species like bluegill; therefore, most Japanese native fish species are unlikely to be equipped with such refuges. However, refuge habitats like aquatic weed beds could develop in Japanese freshwaters, allowing prey fish species to survive under predation pressure. The density, architecture, and species composition of aquatic plants may affect their suitability as refuges. Studies in Japanese waters have suggested that the presence of rich aquatic vegetation or invasive bluegill in bass-introduced waters have suppressed the predation impact of largemouth bass on fish communities. In addition to these environmental factors, original genotypic and phenotypic traits of the introduced largemouth bass, and hybridization between different lineages of largemouth bass or with Florida bass [Micropterus floridanus (Lesueur)] may be involved in further adaptation of invasive largemouth bass to Japanese freshwaters.

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