We report genetic and morphological evidence for the presence of Redeye Bass Micropterus coosae, in the Verde River of Arizona, previously thought to be Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu. We performed meristic measurements on 15 individuals sampled from the Upper Verde River Wildlife Area, Yavapai County, Arizona. Meristic data for lateral line scales, scales above lateral line, and scales below lateral line were all consistent with Redeye Bass and not Smallmouth Bass. We analyzed mitochondrial and nuclear genetic data to determine if one of the black bass (Genus Micropterus) species historically introduced to the Verde River was Redeye Bass and that they persist in the system. We extracted DNA from fin clips of five individuals for phylogenetic analysis of the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 (ND2) mitochondrial gene and for analysis of nuclear DNA using a diagnostic Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) panel. Results of the ND2 genetic sequencing and phylogenetic analysis indicated that these fish likely originated from native Redeye Bass stock from the Coosa River system of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Similarly, nuclear SNP data from the five individuals collected from the Verde River aligned with Redeye Bass reference genotypes based on STRUCTURE analysis. These results support the hypothesis that at least one of the introductions of black bass in Arizona’s Verde River founded a previously unrecognized population of Redeye Bass.  Further work is needed to determine the extent of the Redeye Bass presence in Arizona, whether Smallmouth Bass are also present in the Verde River system, and if hybridization of Redeye Bass and other black basses is occurring.

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