Fish Slam November 2018

Science Center Objects

In November 2018, USGS researchers joined partners in South Florida where they sampled freshwater bodies for non-native fishes. The bi-annual Fish Slam event helps monitor new introductions and document range expansion of known non-native fishes. 

Common carp, Cyprinus carpio

Common carp, Cyprinus carpio

(Credit: Kaitlin Kovacs, USGS. Public domain.)

November 7 – 8, 2018 – Thirty-one fishery biologists from twelve agencies participated in a two-day Fish Slam event during which 22 sites in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties (Florida) were sampled for non-native fishes. Sampling gear included electrofishing boats, backpack electrofisher, minnow traps, cast nets, seines, bow fishing, dipnets, and hook and line. Twenty-three species of non-native fishes were collected or observed. This is the seventh Fish Slam event since the program began in 2013. For general information on Fish Slam events, please see the webpage for the Florida Non-native Fish Action Alliance.

 

No new non-native species or range expansions were detected; however, a large common carp Cyprinus carpio was collected. This species is widespread throughout most of the USA, but rare in the waters of south Florida. We had previously eradicated bay snook, Petenia splendida, from Pinecrest Gardens in south Miami, and a re-check of that location confirmed there were no specimens in the gardens.

 

 

Rob Robins (Florida Museum), Dr. Jon Moore (FAU/Yale Peabody), and Dr. Eric Hilton (VIMS) preparing specimens

Rob Robins (Florida Museum), Dr. Jon Moore (FAU/Yale Peabody), and Dr. Eric Hilton (VIMS) preparing specimens collected during Fish Slam 2018

(Credit: Kaitlin Kovacs, USGS. Public domain.)

Fish Slam events link research institutions such as museums and universities with agencies that possess expertise and field equipment to collect non-native fishes, providing unique access to specimens for these institutions. This year, representatives from the Florida Museum, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science participated. Non-native fishes were tissue sampled for DNA collections, and then preserved. Some specimens were frozen and later processed for skeletal collections.

 

Dr. Eric Hilton describes the process of taking a specimen from the point of being collected in the field to becoming a skeleton. It involves dissecting the fish by removing and separating the bones of the gill arches as a unit and cleaning as much of the tissue off from the bones as possible (top image), air drying the specimen (middle), and placing it in a colony of dermestid beetles (bottom image). Once the specimen has been cleaned by the beetles and their larvae, the bones will be removed and cleaned in a weak ammonia solution, rinsed, and dried. The bones are then stored in boxes to await study. The skeletons of fishes reflect aspects of their ecology and evolution, and are studied by ichthyologists to better understand the diversity of fishes. Data from these collections are available in publicly accessible databases, such as the VIMS Nunally Ichthyology Collection and the Florida Museum Ichthyology Collection.

 

Fish specimens collected and processed for skeletal collections

Fish specimens collected and processed for skeletal collections

(Public domain.)

Native species, along with two non-native species (grass carp, Ctenopharyngodon idella and butterfly peacock bass, Cichla ocellaris), were returned to the wild alive. All field observations of non-native species were entered into the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database.

 

The participants of the November 2018 Fish Slam were: Jesse Blanchard (FIU), Mary Brown (USGS), Wes Daniel (USGS), Andre Daniels (USGS), Cedric Doolittle (USFWS), Allison Durland Donahue (UF), Deb Epperson (USGS), Bryan Falk (NPS), Kenton Finkbeiner (Miccosukee Tribe), John Galvez (USFWS), Kelly Gestring (FWC), Lee Grove (FWC), Daniel Hagood (Miccosukee Tribe), Eric Hilton (VIMS), Howard Jelks (USGS), Jeff Kline (NPS), Kaitlin Kovacs (USGS), Lauren Lapham (UF), Mary McMurphy (NPS), Cayla Morningstar (CNT), Jon Moore (FAU/Yale), Mark Pepper (NPS), Yunelis Perez (Miccosukee Tribe), Ian Pfingsten (CNT), Justin Procopio (CNT), Kristen Reaver (CNT), Rob Robins (FM), Pam Schofield (USGS), Murray Stanford (FWC), Sy TerAvest (UT); Vanessa Trujillo (Deering Estate), Raul Urgelles (NPS), and Josh Wilsey (FWC).

 

Institutional acronyms:  CNT – Cherokee Nation Technologies; FAU- Florida Atlantic University; FIU – Florida International University; FM – Florida Museum; FWC – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; NPS – National Park Service; UF – University of Florida; USFWS – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; USGS – U.S. Geological Survey; UT- University of Tampa; VIMS - Virginia Institute of Marine Science

 

We are grateful to our professional colleagues who volunteered to make our Fish Slam successful.  Special thanks to Barron Moody (FWC) for assistance with permits for this sampling event.

 

Non-native Fishes Collected or Observed during Fish Slam November 2018
Scientific Name Common Name
Ctenopharyngodon idella grass carp
Cyprinus carpio common carp
Hoplosternum littorale brown hoplo
Hypostomus plecostomus suckermouth catfish
Pterygoplichthys spp. sailfin catfish
Clarias batrachus walking catfish
Belonesox belizanus pike killifish
Monopterus sp. Asian swamp eel
Macrognathus siamensis spotfin spiny eel
Amphilophus citrinellus Midas cichlid
Astatotilapia calliptera Eastern happy
Astronotus ocellatus oscar
Cichla ocellaris butterfly peacock bass
Cichlasoma bimaculatum black acara
Cichlasoma urophthalmus Mayan cichlid
Hemichromis letourneuxi African jewelfish
Oreochromis sp. tilapia
Oreochromis aureus blue tilapia
Parachromis managuensis jaguar guapote
Tilapia buttikoferi hornet tilapia
Tilapia mariae spotted tilapia
Trichromis salvini yellowbelly cichlid
Channa marulius bullseye snakehead

 

Participants of the November 2018 Fish Slam

Participants of the November 2018 Fish Slam

(Credit: Kaitlin Kovacs, USGS. Public domain.)