Percina caprodes, Common logperch
The common logperch was propagated at CFI primarily as a host fish for rare mussel propagation for VADGIF in 2007. Many of you are aware that many freshwater mussels found throughout southeastern rivers and streams are imperiled as are many of our freshwater fishes. All North American species of mussels have a complex life cycle involving fish as an intermediate host for the larval mussel (known as glochidia). These larvae attach to the gills, fins, and skin of fishes. It is rare that glochidia infestation ever kills fish, at most it might weigh them down and hamper respiration until the larvae drop off and transform. While the glochidia are attached to the fish they are filter feeding, not feeding off the fish. The fish host not only act as an active way for the larval mussels to feed in the water column, but it also allows for dispersal of the mussels throughout the rivers.
Just as CFI propagates imperiled fishes, a number of facilities dedicated to the propagation of rare mussels have been established in recent years. Those facilities that work with propagating mussels for reintroduction must use appropriate host fishes for the mussels to complete their life history. In some cases, only one or a few fishes can be used as hosts for particular mussel species. Collecting these fish from the wild in numbers great enough to be beneficial to mussel propagation may be very labor intensive or possibly would impact the native population too much. We found with our propagation of the common logperch for VADGIF in 2007 that these individuals were much better hosts for the mussel glochidia because these individuals did not have an immune system built up against the glochidia.
FWS in KY has contracted CFI to produce common logperch for their mussel propagation efforts in 2012 and 2013. Hopefully we can be as successful as we were with VADGIF!