Morphological correlates of swimming activity in wild largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) in their natural environment

K. C. Hanson, C. T. Hasler, C. D. Suski, S. J. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individual variation in morphology has been linked to organismal performance in numerous taxa. Recently, the relationship between functional morphology and swimming performance in teleost fishes has been studied in laboratory experiments. In this study, we evaluate the relationship between morphology and swimming activity of wild largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) during the reproductive period, providing the first data derived on free-swimming fish not exposed to forced swim trials in the laboratory. Sixteen male largemouth bass were angled from their nests, telemetered, and subsequently monitored by a whole-lake acoustic hydrophone array with sub-meter accuracy. Additionally, eleven morphological measurements were taken from digital images of each fish. A principal components analysis of the morphological measurements described 79.8% of the variance. PC1 was characterized by measures of overall body stoutness, PC2 was characterized by measures of the length and depth of the caudal region, and PC3 characterized individuals with relatively large anterior portions of the body and relatively small caudal areas. Of these variables, only PC3 showed significant relationships to swimming activity throughout the parental care period. PC3 was negatively correlated with multiple measures of swimming activity across the parental care period. Furthermore, swimming performance of individual male bass was noted to be repeatable across the parental care period indicating that this phenomenon extends beyond the laboratory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-920
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Behaviour
  • Biotelemetry
  • Largemouth bass
  • Morphology
  • Reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


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