The largemouth bass is Kentucky’s most popular gamefish. French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède (1756-1825) was the first to publish information on this black bass in the scientific literature, based on a drawing and simple description obtained in 1802 from the Carolinas. He named the fish Micropterus salmoides, a combination of the Greek word for “small fin” and the Latin word for “troutlike.”
But the poorly executed drawing and incomplete description so confused later naturalists that they could not decide with certainty whether the fish had been a Largemouth or Smallmouth Bass, so later descriptions were published under various scientific names. In Book of the Black Bass (1881), James A. Henshall resolved the issue of the appropriate name, pointing out that the bass as described being large-mouthed and common, and the location of the specimen being the Carolinas, where the Smallmouth Bass’s range was limited, Lacépède’s bass was surely a Largemouth Bass.
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