Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly Arrive!
BY ANGELA BARAN, GENOA NFH
On June 2, 2015 staff from University of South Dakota arrived at Genoa National Fish Hatchery (NFH) with the dragonfly larvae. This marks the beginning of the collaborative effort among the Genoa NFH, Chicago Ecological Services Office, Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge and University of South Dakota (USD) funded through the Cooperative Recovery Initiative. USD has been working with the dragonfly for several years and has studied their growth, tracked their genetics and has developed the first captive rearing techniques for the species. The techniques developed work well for small groups in a lab setting but there is now the need for larger scale production. Genoa will take the methods and work with USD to adapt them to larger scale production and to tailor them to the site specific variables.
The 147 larvae were first weighed (those big enough to weigh!) and a picture was taken of each to measure their head width so their growth over the summer at the hatchery can be calculated. Last minute adjustments to their cages were also made that Tuesday to prepare for stocking them out on Wednesday. The first year on station, conditions will mimic those at the other summer sites for the larvae so a more accurate assessment of survival and growth can be determined for Genoa NFH.
The larvae were placed in their cages on Wednesday, with half going into the wetland and half into a pond they will share with the mussels. Over the summer, temperatures, dissolved oxygen and water quality will be monitored weekly, the cages also being checked for debris and troubleshooting any issues. The larvae will also be removed each month to be weighed and measured, keeping an eye on their progress and allowing for course correcting along the way.