Neosho National Fish Hatchery (NNFH) biologists have successfully implanted tiny baby mussels named glochidia onto the gills of a host fish.
“Barely the size of a grain of sand, each tiny mussel needs to hitchhike on a specific type of fish for a few weeks as it grows and metamorphoses into a juvenile and then drops off,” said Rodrick May, assistant manager of the fish hatchery.
The Neosho hatchery, which is the oldest operating federal hatchery in the nation, is currently gaining experience with the fatmucket which is considered common, although degrading water quality and watershed destabilization interfere with the survival of this and all freshwater mussels.
“We hope to soon transition into endangered mussels to help recover and restore them in nature. We would like to be able to work with the Neosho Mucket,” said May.
The fatmuckets that the NNFH has been working on have to attach to the largemouth bass as their host fish. The glochidia does not impact the largemouth bass and in fact, the largemouth bass don’t even know the glochidia are there.