Fertilization success, suitable host fish, and lab culture methods were examined in the federally endangered Arkansas rock pocketbook mussel, Arkansia wheeleri. The proportion of fertilization in the two brooding females recovered was 36.0% and 60.3%. Incomplete fertilization presumably results from low population density limiting availability of sperm. Eight fish species were tested as hosts for the glochidia larvae. The species and the percent successful metamorphosis of attached glochidia were: golden shiner (31%), dusky-stripe shiner (11%), freshwater drum (3%), blue catfish (0%), largemouth bass (0%), hybrid sunfish (0%), orangespotted sunfish (0%), and walleye (0%). Metamorphosis was complete within 10 days at 23 C. A previous study reported 11 potential hosts for Arkansia wheeleri, mainly centrarchids, with metamorphosis success up to 70% (Seagraves 2006). However, an examination of the results of that study suggests that the fish were contaminated with glochidia of another mussel species, Pyganodon grandis, and that Pyganodon juveniles were recovered and mistaken for juveniles of Arkansia wheeleri. Further host tests should focus on cyprinids. Golden shiner appears to be a viable choice for captive propagation. Attempts to lab-culture the Arkansia juveniles were unsuccessful. Growth was poor and all juveniles died within 3 months. It appears that the juveniles did not feed well on the microalgae that have been used successfully for other mussel species, and future trials should provide a food source with bacterial components. Future culture efforts should also focus on establishing a captive population of adults to improve fertilization success and allow access to glochidia for culture



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Report to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Project Period: August 4, 2009 - January 31, 2010

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