Date of this Version
The Prairie Naturalist 44: 105-108. December 2012
Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) are opportunistic predators often feeding in littoral areas during crepuscular periods (Snow 1971). Adult largemouth bass primarily are piscivorous, whereas juveniles generally consume zooplankton, insects, and small fish (Zweiacker and Summerfelt 1974, Carlander 1977, Post 2003). Age-0 largemouth bass generally consume zooplankton and macroinvertebrates (Keast and Webb 1966, Keast 1985, Phillips et al. 1995, Post 2003) and shift to piscivory at 50-70 mm in length (Phillips et al. 1995, Olson 1996, Post 2003). Few studies have documented detailed accounts of other vertebrates besides fish in diets of largemouth bass, which include amphibians (Hodgson and Kitchell 1987, Hodgson and Hansen 2005), reptiles (Hodgson and Kitchell 1987, Britson and Gutzke 1993), birds (Hodgson and Hansen 2005), and mammals (Clady 1974, Hodgson 1986, Hodgson and Kitchell 1987, Hodgson and Kinsella 1995). Depending on location and season, non-fish vertebrates can contribute substantially to diets of largemouth bass. For example, small mammals composed over 50% of the volume of bass diets in May-June in Cub Lake, Michigan (Clady 1974). To our knowledge, no study in the Great Plains has documented terrestrial or semi-aquatic vertebrates in largemouth bass diets to date. Herein we report on the presence of terrestrial and semi-aquatic vertebrates in largemouth bass diets in borrow- pit lakes in central Nebraska, representing several new species of prey items for largemouth bass.