BY DOUG ALOISI, GENOA NFH
This past month Ralph Simmons, formerly of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, and currently with Fish and Wildlife Service's Region 2 or Southwest Region, came to pay the Genoa National Fish Hatchery's mussel staff a visit. He was on a fact finding mission on the how-to of mussel propagation for proposed future Recovery efforts of Endangered Mussels in Texas. Ralph is currently serving as the Acting Project Leader of the Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery while a new project leader search concludes. Then he will head back to the Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery in central Oklahoma, where he serves as the assistant project leader. Mussel biologists Nathan Eckert and Megan Bradley showed Ralph the "Clam Palace", Genoa's freshwater mussel propagation building, also affectionately known as "Where the magic happens". Here they demonstrated an inoculation event, where freshwater mussels are placed on the gills of a specific species of host fish that will accept the larvae, or glochidia of that particular species of mussel. There they will attach and feed off of the body fluids of the fish until such time that they are developed enough to feed on their own. The larvae will then be collected in a variety of ways given the needs of a particular project, or past results of being able to rear that species of mussels in intensive propagation systems. The mussel team gave Ralph much food for thought, and hopefully methods used in the southwest Region of Wisconsin can be applied to systems in the Southwest Region of our country. We wish Ralph the best of success in efforts to move the needle of mussel recovery efforts in Region 2.
BY ERIN JOHNSON, GENOA NFH
After a short hot and humid summer Genoa’s Hines Emerald Dragonfly larvae are ready for winter! Last winter a small number of larvae were kept in one of the hatchery ponds while the rest were kept in specimen cups in our storage cooler. Larval survival was high enough to determine they would be successful in the pond over winter instead of the in the specimen cups in the cooler. As the weight and growth data was collected, the larvae were separated into two groups based on where the larvae were collected from; Wisconsin and Illinois. The Wisconsin, approximately 141 larvae, group headed back to our partners at the University of South Dakota for further research while the Illinois group, approximately 50 larvae, were kept at Genoa and put back into cages and set out in the pond.
Once back at the University of South Dakota the larvae will be spilt into two groups. One group will be used for testing the effects of an insecticide known as neonicotinoids, a new class of insecticides which action on certain receptors in the nervous system. Neonicotinoids are much more toxic to invertebrates thus creating an issue for non-target insects. Neonicotinoids can be applied to the soil and taken up by plants affecting potential food sources. The other group will be used for an experiment using artificial crayfish burrows to see how the larvae use them and how they avoid being predated. In their natural environment larvae use crayfish burrows to hibernate but it is unknown exactly how they use them and how they avoid predators. As little is known about the Hines Emerald Dragon flies in their larval state hopefully these experiments will prove to be useful as the recovery process continues.