There are some species of animals that spend their life cycle as both male and female. For example, the California Sheephead is a fish that starts out as female. Then certain environmental conditions occur that spark some of them to become male in order to continue the reproduction of the species. Most species of fish are distinctly male or female, with each gender having its own particular role in reproduction.
Largemouth bass is a species of fish that’s supposed to be distinctly male or female. However, the U.S. Geological Survey has made a startling discovery in some of our nation’s waterways — male bass carrying eggs! Find out what may be causing this disturbing trend in this article from Fishing Tackle Retailer.
The discovery was reveled three weeks ago in a Washington Post report that highlights bass populations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. That watershed encompasses some of the nation’s most well-known rivers in the Delaware, Ohio and Potomac Rivers. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass in those rivers are, according to the USGS, becoming “intersex” organisms.
That means the fish have two genders. And it’s an alarming sign of industry’s affect on fisheries.
Dissections of intersex bass in the Susquehanna river near Hershey, Pennsylvania uncovered a 100 percent margin of smallmouth bass carrying eggs. Following the research in Pennsylvania—scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found female germination cells in 82 percent of the smallmouth and 23 percent of the largemouth bass near the Blue Plains water treatment facility in Washington, D.C.
Photos: Florida Heritage (top); Fishing Tackle Retailer (above)