Separation of the Subspecies of Largemouth Bass Micropterus Salmoides Salmoides, and M. S. Floridanus and Intergrades by use of Meristic Characters

Meristic variation was examined among samples of northern largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides salmoides, from Arkansas and compared with variation found in samples of the Florida largemouth, Mifloridanus. Meristic characters employed in this investigation included five scale counts and number of pyloric caeca. Statistical analyses of the data involved analysis of variance, discriminant function analysis, and Hotelling's T2 test statistic. The primary objective of this study was to establish the best criteria for the practical separation of the two subspecies and, if possible, their intergrades. Number of pyloric caeca, which had not been previously compared for these two subspecies, proved to be the best single character for their separation. Utilizing two scale characters and number of pyloric caeca, discriminant function analyses permit classification of unknown specimens to one or the other subspecies with a high degree of certainty. A graph, containing two overlapping ellipses, constructed using Hotelling's T2 test statistic, enables a rapid classification of M. s. salmoides. M. s. floridanus. and possibly intergrades by plotting original values for number of lateral-line scales and number of pyloric caeca on the axes.

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