The Great Exchange

Dragonfly larvae waiting to be transferred

Dragonfly eggs in a cup (above right). Photos by Angela Baran Dagendesh/USFWS. As the leaves begin to fall, the ponds at Genoa National Fish Hatchery begin to drain and the dragonfly larvae lose their summer home! During the summer months, the Hine’s emerald dragonfly larvae spend their time in cages in the hatchery ponds, eating all the zooplankton that swim by and are small enough for them to catch. As the temperatures cool, the station begins to drain the ponds to stock out the fish. This fall, hatchery staff met folks from the University of South Dakota just off the highway to transfer the larvae and in turn, received over 800 eggs. The larvae will be cooled down to go dormant over the winter and then next spring, USD staff will place them in cages near their future release sites to prepare for eventual emergence. Once back on station at the hatchery, the eggs were also chilled down and placed in the station’s large industrial cooler where fish feed is stored. The eggs will be monitored throughout the winter to check for any early hatches or fungus issues and water will be changed out periodically. By: Angela Baran Dagendesh

Dragonfly eggs in a cup