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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Fish, Mussels and Dragonflies? Oh, My!

Region 3, April 3, 2013

On February 19th, 2013, staff from Genoa National Fish Hatchery travelled to Vermillion, South Dakota to meet with students and faculty studying the Hines Emerald Dragonfly at the University of South Dakota. The hatchery was contacted by the Green Bay and Chicago Ecological Services Field Offices to see if it would be possible to raise the dragonfly larvae on a larger scale than in the university setting.

Genoa NFH seems to be an almost ideal setting for possible dragonfly culture with access to the hatchery’s natural wetland and the multiple food sources utilized by the many species raised at the hatchery. Sitting down with the students and staff at the university allowed for an open discussion about possible ways to take what has been learned about the species and develop large scale efforts to culture this species. It also helped to frame up what new questions and methods need to be tested to take the next step for this species.  For example, how my larvae can occupy a specific space without cannibalism or causing illness?  How fast can they be grown without compromising life history or behaviors? The next step will be to see if there are funding sources available to begin working with this species and the staff and students at the university will be visiting Genoa NFH to see if the site will work for dragonfly culture.

The Hines Emerald Dragonfly was placed on the Federal Endangered Species list in 1995, the primary reason for the species decline is loss of habitat due to urban development. The historic range for the dragonfly was Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin. It has been extirpated from Alabama, Ohio and Indiana. Habitat restoration efforts are underway in several locations and with the culture methods being developed, there is great hope for this species to stabilize and re-establish in historic ranges.

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov