Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Don't Be Blue ... Unless You Are a Crawfish, Then Blue Is AWESOME!

Almost 9 months ago, I netted about 65 young crawfish from a ditch that flows into a creek that flows into the Waccasassa River here in Levy county.

They were of varying sizes and all, everyone of them, brown.
Just your regular, move along folks, nothing to see here,  normal crawdaddy brown.

I took them into school and we plopped them into a large aquaculture tank that was set up with a pvc and netting structure to give them vertical territory. The netting allows them to spread out so they wouldn't eat each other at every meeting on the tank bottom.

Worked like a charm. 

I had the kids measure and weigh them mostly so they would get some metric practice and to get a feel for some of the more mundane tasks that biologists do.

That was in March.
When we came back after the summer (the crawfish spent the summer in the tank), I expected mass cannibalism since I fed them less often.

But no, the losses were minimal and there were lots of babies crawling around the mesh "reef" inside the tank.

We hauled them out again for a count and measurements.
There were a few less, but they had grown substantially.

Oh, ...and they were blue.

Not totally blue and not every single one, but most had tinges of blue and some were really getting their blue on.

It seemed that each molting resulted in more blue in their exoskeletons.

And the babies were showing blue as inchlings.

Procamarus alleni

Some of them, like this freshly molted beauty have gone full bore blue ... and not just any blue, but BAZINGA BLUE!

The shot above not only shows why there are so many babies in the tank, but it also shows the "normal" color of the crawfish when I dipped them from the ditch.
Nobody was blue then.

My original intent was to cycle these crawfish back to my pond, but now that so many of them are blue, we plan to hang on to them in our Cedar Key Science lab and see what develops.

Below is a short video shot with my cell phone today while we were freshening up the crawfish tank.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gold Discovered in Cedar Key, Florida


Diamonds and gold

Danza de oro