As largemouth bass go, it’s not the biggest you’ll ever see.
But it’s probably the most unusual.
A fisherman was casting into Fox Lake in Titusville, Fla., earlier this summer when he caught an orange bass. And I mean orange. The fish, as you can see below, is orangeish-gold on the bottom, darker on top, with bright orange fins and coloration around its eyes.
What must he have been thinking when he reeled it in?
The fish’s odd color is a result of an extremely rare genetic anomaly, according to officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. It’s called xanthism. It “causes the pigments in some animals to turn orange, similar to the way albinism causes a lack of pigment,” researchers said in a Facebook post.
“To put its rarity into perspective, our Freshwater Fisheries Research Long-Term Monitoring Program has sampled 255,632 largemouth bass from 175 different water bodies over a 10-year period and have no reported sightings of this genetic phenomenon. In fact, the only sighting our freshwater fisheries researchers have of these orange bass is one photo from an electrofishing trip nearly 30 years ago,” they added.
This orange-colored bass has what scientists call xanthism.