Smallmouth bass

Micropterus dolomieu

Common name:

Smallmouth bass

Scientific name:

Micropterus dolomieu


The smallmouth bass is a small predatory fish, reaching up to 60mm in length and 2kg in mass. It is an olive to coppery-yellow colour above, with darker olive vertical stripes and a dusky white underneath. Breeding usually occurs in early summer in shallow waters. Smallmouth bass has caused a decline in indigenous species through environmental degradation and predation.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    North America

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA – Category 1b in National Parks, Provincial Reserves, Mountain Catchment Areas and Forestry Reserves declared in terms of the Protected Areas Act. NEMBA - Category 2 for release into damns within descrete catchment systems in which it occurs. NEMBA - Category 3 in all rivers, wetlands, natural lakes and estuaries in which it occurs.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Throughout South Africa, widespread in temperate regions (Eastern and Western Cape)

    Why is it a problem?

    The smallmouth bass has had a devastating effect on indigenous species, the main factor of the decline in indigenous species, being environmental degradation. Predation on indigenous organisms has also had a significant effect on ecosystems.

    What does it look like?

    Description: Predatory fish, with a large head and mouth, reaching up to 5kg in weight and 60cm in length. Olive to coppery-yellow colour above, with darker olive vertical bars, dusky white underneath and red eyes. Habitat: Freshwater, preferring rocky pools and dams. Breeding: Occurs in early summer. Nest built in shallow waters.