Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly larvae are reared in PVC pipe cages submerged in tanks. Photo by Angela Baran Dagendesh/USFWS.
Genoa National Fish Hatchery began working with the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly in 2015 after receiving a grant to help get the program underway. Each year brings new challenges and learning opportunities for working with this species! Last fall, the hatchery received 800 eggs to hold over the winter for spring hatch and summer grow-out. The learning curve has been quite steep for the eggs and newly hatched larvae, with hatching beginning in February this year, about 3 months early! The hatchery adapted quickly, setting up small cups with a little sand and supplementing with pond water out of the mussel building, warmed up to room temperature. Once it warmed up and pond water temperatures increased, the newly hatched larvae were placed loose in rearing tanks, to give them more space and hopefully avoid cannibalism. We are now transitioning to smaller cages to place in the tanks to further reduce cannibalism and also to protect the larvae from any other invertebrates that might come in with the pond water. Now that the temperatures have warmed up, zooplankton production in the ponds has taken off, providing an all you can eat buffet for the larvae! Once the larvae get a little larger, they will transition to the larger mesh cages and be placed out in the hatchery ponds. The larger mesh will still protect the larvae, but allow larger sized food to crawl in for the dragonfly larvae. Stay tuned this summer for updates and pictures of the growing dragonflies!
By Angela Baran Dagendesh