A Comparison of Two Necturus maculosus Populations in Northeastern Ohio Prior to Lampricide Treatment
Kilmer, Joseph Theodore
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In efforts to combat the invasive sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus in the Great Lakes region, nearby rivers are being treated with toxic lampricides. These rivers are home to the common mudpuppy Necuturus maculosus, which is a fully-aquatic salamander that fills the important ecological role of being a predator. Previous studies have suggested that lampricides have strong lethal effects on N. maculosus. This paper presents' the first half of a two-summer study to further investigate the lethal effects of the lampricide 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol (TFM) on N. maculosus populations. Two mudpuppy populations were studied in two sites in Northeastern Ohio. One of the sites had previously been treated with TFM while the other had never been treated. A capture-recapture survey was done in both sites over the course of one summer, and population sizes were estimated. Additionally, size and sex measurements were recorded for all captured specimens. Population estimates were significantly lower for the site that had been previously treated with TFM, and captured individuals in this site were on average younger than those found in the untreated site. These results suggest that lampricide treatment has significant long-term negative effects on populations of N. maculosus, but this needs further investigation in the second half of this study. While it's important to keep invasive lamprey populations low, continued application of TFM may eliminate mudpuppies from treated Great Lakes tributaries. Therefore, it is important to encourage the use of alternative forms of lamprey control.