Predator vs. Prey: Bass vs. Crayfish

By | April 1, 2012
From Xplor: April/May 2012

The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight. Here's what separates nature's winners from its losers.

Keen Eyes

Bass see in every direction except directly behind and below. Plus, their eyes gather light five times better than yours, so hunting in shadowy water is no problem.

Distant Touch

A row of nerve cells called a lateral line runs along each side of a bass. It detects waves in the water, allowing bass to feel things without actually touching them. The lateral line is so sensitive, bass can detect crayfish 20 feet away.

Pinchy Pincers

Crayfish use claw-like pincers to snare food and deliver painful pinches to predators who get too close.

Big Mouth

A smallmouth’s maw isn’t small. Fully opened, it’s wider than the fish’s body. When a bass opens wide, water rushes in, sucking anything nearby inside, too.

Backward Blast

Crayfish use their fan-shaped tails like canoe paddles. By squeezing their tummy muscles, crayfish can swoosh backwards at nearly 25 miles per hour

Camouflaged Armor

A crayfish’s exoskeleton is like armor and blends in perfectly with rocky streambeds.

And the winner is...

Smallmouths often pass on large, feisty crayfish, but gobble small ones every chance they get. Unless this shrimpy crawdad can dart under a rock, it’s bass bait.

And More...

This Issue's Staff

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White
Kipp Woods