Collaborative Research Examines Interactions Between Snook and Largemouth Bass

Collaborative research conducted by FWRI scientists examines how different species of snook share habitat with largemouth bass in Florida river systems.

FWRI biologists releasing a tagged snook and largemouth bass.The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute's (FWRI) Marine Fisheries and Freshwater Fisheries sections have teamed together to study common snook, Centropomus undecimalis, and largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, in three river systems along the east coast of Florida. The main goal of the project is to compare habitat and diet overlap between these two apex (top-level) predators. This joint, multi-disciplinary study also examines large and small scale movements and will expand the knowledge-base of lesser known species of snook (small-scale fat snook, C. parallelus, large-scale fat snook, C. mexicanus, tarpon snook, C. pectinatus, and swordspine snook, C. ensiferus.)

Common snook, small-scale fat snook and largemouth bass have been tagged and released in the Sebastian, St. Lucie, and Loxahatchee Rivers. Some common snook have also been tagged in the Indian River Lagoon and nearby inlets. The tags are yellow dart tags inserted at the base of the dorsal fin as shown in the image below. For this project, most dart tags have the prefix "snk" but some have the prefix "Cun," followed by a series of numbers.

If a tagged fish is caught, please report the information found on the tag (an example is listed below) by calling the Tag Return Hotline at 1-800-367-4461 or by e-mailing the information to tagreturn@MyFWC.com. The tag may be fouled with algae, but the algae can be scraped off with a fingernail in order to read the tag number.

A tagged common snook
A tagged common snook
Note the location of the yellow tag near the dorsal fin.

The following information is needed from the tags:

Species of fish
Tag number ("snk 1234" or "Cun 123").
Date, location, total length of the recaptured fish and the status of the fish (such as if it is kept, released with the tag, released without the tag, or found dead).
The angler's name, address, phone number, and shirt size.

(The reason for requesting a shirt size is that anglers who report this information will receive a free T-shirt. Details are below).

If the fish is to be released, please leave the tag intact.

In addition, some fish have been surgically implanted with acoustic tags. These tags allow biologists to track the fish on a near constant basis to determine small scale movements within its habitat. Most of these fish have external tags that read "Please Release." If possible, please release these fish back into the water with the external tag intact.

In appreciation for cooperating with this research, everyone who reports the recapture of a tagged fish will receive a snook and bass T-shirt, as well as the original tagging information for that fish.



FWC Facts:
Many species of fish (many groupers, snook, etc.) are hermaphroditic and change sex at some point in their life.

Learn More at AskFWC