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St. Louis, MO, United States

Bodinof C.M.,University of Missouri | Duncan M.C.,Saint Louis Zoological Park | Beringer J.,Resource Science Center | Millspaugh J.J.,University of Missouri
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms | Year: 2011

The pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) was recently detected in Missouri hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis populations that have declined precipitously for unclear reasons. The objective of this study was to determine whether Bd occurred historically in Missouri hellbender populations or is a relatively novel occurrence. Epidermal tissue was removed from 216 archived hellbenders collected from 7 Missouri streams between 1896 and 1994. Histological techniques and an immunoperoxidase stain were used to confirm historic occurrence of Bd infection in hellbenders from the North Fork of the White (1969, 1973, 1975), Meramec (1975, 1986), Big Piney (1986), and Current rivers (1988). Bd was not detected in hellbenders from the Niangua, Gasconade or Eleven Point rivers. The study detected no evidence for endemism of Bd in Missouri hellbender populations prior to 1969, despite the fact that nearly one third of the hellbenders sampled were collected earlier. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that Bd is a non-endemic pathogen in North America that was introduced in the second half of the twentieth century. © Inter-Research 2011. Source


Black P.A.,University of Minnesota | Trent A.M.,University of Minnesota | Bauman J.E.,Saint Louis Zoological Park | Farnsworth R.J.,University of Minnesota | Monfort S.L.,Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2011

Seasonal reproductive-endocrine norms have not been described for the genus Tragelaphus, which consists of seven species of African antelope. Longitudinal patterns of progesterone metabolite excretion were assessed by radioimmunoassays in fecal samples collected noninvasively (three to seven samples per week) from greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros, n = 4) and lesser kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis, n = 4). Progesterone metabolite excretion patterns revealed seasonal estrous cycles in both species, and discrimination of pregnant versus nonpregnant females was achieved in lesser kudu. These data reveal the value of fecal progesterone metabolites for establishing reproductive-endocrine norms in both zoo-maintained and free-living antelopes of the genus Tragelaphus. Copyright 2011 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Source


Bodinof C.M.,University of Missouri | Junge R.E.,Saint Louis Zoological Park | Beringer J.,Resource Science Center | Wanner M.D.,Saint Louis Zoological Park | And 4 more authors.
Herpetologica | Year: 2012

Postrelease movements can determine the success of wildlife translocations. We monitored movements of 36 captive-reared Ozark Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi) released to augment wild populations at two sites on the North Fork of the White River (Missouri, USA). We used radiotelemetry to collect 3610 Hellbender locations from May 2008 to August 2009. We quantified movements at multiple spatio-temporal scales and made comparisons between two seasons of monitoring (1 = release-December 2008; 2 = January 2009-August 2009). At the finest (daily) scale, most Hellbenders (90%-94% per season) were highly sedentary (≥50 of observations indicated no movement). Typical distances between daily locations when Hellbenders moved were <5 m in Season 1 (median = 3.08 m, n = 331; range 0.19-903.00) and <2 m in Season 2 (median = 1.80 m; n = 161; range = 0.21-34.00). During the study Hellbenders rarely (35 of 492 movements) travelled >20 m between daily locations, and virtually all (34 of 35) such movements occurred in Season 1. At a broader scale, home ranges of Hellbenders varied widely in Season 1 (range = 0.66-986.92 m2, n = 26), but in Season 2 averaged only 31.33 m2 (± 11.81 SE, n = 8) and 11.08 m2 (± 3.25 SE, n = 7) at respective sites. Among Hellbenders monitored long enough to exhibit settlement (estimation of a home range) 69% (18 of 26) dispersed ≤50 m from the point of release. We only noted mortality associated with dispersals >50 m at one site, when it coincided with abandonment of core habitat that was one-third as large as at the other site. At the broadest scale, 68% and 86% of Hellbenders settled in core habitat of respective release sites, and most had settled within 21 d postrelease (range = 0-49 d). Collectively, Hellbender movements indicated a short period of exploration followed by more permanent settlement and high site fidelity typical of wild conspecifics. Captive-reared juvenile Hellbenders may be well suited for translocation; however, the quality of habitat at fine scale (10-30 m2) and the extent of suitable habitat within release sites are important considerations. © 2012 by The Herpetologists' League, Inc. Source


Bodinof C.M.,University of Missouri | Junge R.E.,Saint Louis Zoological Park | Beringer J.,Resource Science Center | Wanner M.D.,Saint Louis Zoological Park | And 3 more authors.
Copeia | Year: 2012

We used radiotelemetry and recapture to monitor survival and body condition of 36 captive-reared Ozark Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi) released at two sites on the North Fork of the White River, Missouri, from May 2008 to August 2009. At the end of our study 16 salamanders were alive, 13 had died, and the fate of seven could not be determined. Captive-reared hellbenders released at a site with densely arranged boulders exhibited approximately 1.5-fold higher annual survival (0.7467; daily survival = 0.9992 ± 0.0004 95% CI) than hellbenders released at a site where boulders were patchily distributed (0.4816; daily survival = 0.9980 ± 0.0007 95% CI). When compared to log-transformed lengthmass relationships developed for wild hellbenders from the same river in the 1970s, mean body condition of hellbenders at the patchy boulder site was about average at the end of the study (mean residual distance = -0.0273 ± 0.0234 SE, n = 7; range = -0.13750.0486), while mean body condition of hellbenders at the dense boulder site was above average (mean residual distance = 0.0423 ± 0.0402 SE; n = 8; range = -0.03740.1088). In addition to lower survivorship and body condition, a greater proportion of hellbenders at the patchy site accrued physical abnormalities (6 of 13 vs. 2 of 14), carried leech parasites (9 of 16 vs. 4 of 14), and carried the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (3 of 11 vs. 1 of 13). A 'site only' model of survival was most supported, though additional supported models suggested increased mass at release may have increased daily survivorship. While more work is needed to determine the impact of translocation on long-term population dynamics of Ozark Hellbenders, our study demonstrated that about half of a translocated population of captive-reared hellbenders can survive while maintaining or increasing in body condition during their first year post-release, given release sites are well selected. © 2012 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Source


Bodinof C.M.,University of Missouri | Junge R.E.,Saint Louis Zoological Park | Wanner M.D.,Saint Louis Zoological Park | Schuette C.D.,Saint Louis Zoological Park | And 2 more authors.
Freshwater Biology | Year: 2012

Organisms associated with lotic systems rank among the most threatened because of global change. Although translocation is being increasingly applied as a conservation strategy, most studies have focused on survival and recruitment of individuals, and few have attempted to identify how habitat attributes influence short-term settlement of animals during the critical post-release period. We demonstrate the application of resource selection modelling in an information theoretic framework to identify release-site characteristics that will increase the likelihood of settlement for a fully aquatic benthic stream salamander, the Ozark hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi). We fit discrete choice models using data from 29 radio-tagged hellbenders that were translocated to two sites in the North Fork of the White River (NFWR), Missouri (U.S.A.). We defined resource availability at two spatial scales (stream reach and home range) and quantified abiotic habitat attributes at 3181 salamander locations and 6329 random available locations collected between May 2008 and August 2009. At both sites and spatial scales, a single model received substantially greater support (0.96-1.00 of total model weight) than all other models, and top-ranked models were similar in form and predictive ability. At both spatial scales, selection was positively influenced by the presence of cobble-boulder substratum relative to bedrock and finer substrata. We also noted a negative interactive effect between distance to the nearest substratum particle large enough to provide cover (i.e. at least one axis ≥15cm in length) and an increase in either a direct or relative (i.e. pool, run, and riffle) measure of water velocity. Collectively, salamanders released in our study selected resources indicative of long-term benthic microhabitat stability. However, despite strong selection of cobble-boulder substratum, 8% (282 of 3181) of captive-reared hellbender locations occurred in bank crevices and root masses. Although several studies have reported the importance of near bed hydraulics in determining occurrence of stream macroinvertebrates, our findings are the first to indicate that spacing among cobble-boulder substrata may be important for hellbenders. To increase the likelihood of short-term settlement of captive-reared hellbenders in the wild, we recommend prioritising release sites where the average distance between cobble-boulder particles within habitat patches is minimised. In general, average spacing among cobble and boulder substrata should be <1m in habitat patches where mean benthic water velocity exceeds 0.1ms-1, and <0.5m where water velocity approaches 0.30ms-1. Based on home range sizes of captive-reared Ozark hellbenders, the collective extent of suitable cobble-boulder habitat patches within release sites should approximate at least 10m2 per salamander released. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

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