Re: NANFA-- Bluenose Shiners & Pond Update

Christopher Scharpf (
Mon, 22 Sep 2003 20:48:49 -0400

Jeff and Chip,

> That would be very easy for me to do. Dollar Sunfishes ought to work too, but
> Pumpkinseeds are easy to come by if for some reason they don't.

I don't know if just any centrarchid would do. Welaka have only been
observed spawning over L. megalotis nests, but since L. marginatus are in
their range, it's worth a try.

Note: pumpkinseed and welaka/hubbsi do not naturally co-occur. But David M.
Schleser spawned P. hubbsi in 800-gallon, bare-bottomed fiberglass ponds
each stocked with a pair of pumpkinseeds. In previous years, P. hubbsi
placed into ponds without sunfish colored up but did not spawn

But do make sure the bottom of the pond is silt-free. Welaka and hubbsi (and
centrarchids) prefer spawning over gravel or clean, bare areas. You don't
want any silt or mulm to smother the eggs,

> One other change I would like to try hubbsii instead of welaka-

In a Louisiana bayou in May, P. hubbsi were observed defending a territory
in a cavity between buttressing roots of a bald cypress tree. When eggs were
removed from the cavity and hatched in the lab, two species emerged,
bluehead shiner and warmouth (L. gulosus). The shiners were actively
defending their nests, but only before, during and immediately after egg
deposition. Shiners were never observed defending their fry, a task it seems
they entrust to the warmouth. Larvae found at other locations suggests that
P. hubbsi may also spawn among woody plant roots where warmouth nests are
not present.

> As I prepare my pond for the bluenose shiners and dollar sunfish, I have
> decided to make two sections that the dollars can't follow the welaka into.

This *may* not be necessary, depending on the size of the pond and the size
of the fish. Although no existing research that I know of confirms this, I
wouldn't be a bit surprised that the dollars ignored the welaka. Nature has
a way of letting nest host and nest associate peacefully coexist (e.g., Ray
Katula's observation of bowfin allowing golden shiner to use their nest).
Both species theoretically benefit from the association. (I also remember
the welaka B.G. brought to the 1999 NANFA convention. They were placed in a
tank with big megalotis, and the megalotis ignored them.)

Of course, this is all a hunch, so proceed with caution.

Other notes that may be of help:

Efforts to reintroduce P. hubbsi into Wolf Lake in Illinois, where the
species has not been seen since the 1970s, failed. The reasons for the
failure are not known, but may be due to the fact that broodstock came from
Louisiana and Texas where the winters are not as severe as they are in
southern Illinois.

Good luck with your efforts, and please keep detailed records for potential
BAP reports and AC features or news items.

Anthony Terceira said it best when he noted welaka's increasing rarity in
his 1975 spawning account: "I hope this fish does not become another
fatality of progress, [for] it is simply too beautiful to lose."

Chris Scharpf
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