State Fish of Texas Breeding Its Way to Extinction

Attempts to preserve the Guadalupe bass, the state fish of Texas, may have actually resulted in its being bred out of existence.


Here's what happened. At the same time that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department was restocking rivers with Guadalupe bass, it was also restocking the same rivers with small mouth bass, a popular catch for local fishermen. The theory was that even if the two species bred, they'd produce sterile offspring (like horses and donkeys breed to produce mules), which wouldn't hurt either population.

Guess what? They bred anyway, and hybridized, and continued breeding. Flash forward 20 or 30 years and a new study (PDF) shows that there might not be any pure Guadalupe bass left:

Genetic analysis identified 40% of individuals as smallmouth bass, 51% as smallmouth bass-Guadalupe bass hybrids, and 9% as other Micropterus hybrids. Pure Guadalupe bass were not collected.

Further research needs to be done, but it looks like this is one species we can expect to say good-bye to soon.

See more articles from Extinction Blog


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment

Issue 25

Sign up for Plenty's Weekly Newsletter