Well-Nigh Wordless Wendesday: Not an Insect (Part 2)

I had a second job for a long time.  I originally sought the position to make ends meet (important when you’re making less than $650 a month as a grad student!), but it turned into a fantastic learning experience that trained me in many areas of aquatic ecology.  I was hired as the aquatic insect guru and spent a lot of time at a desk in the back room identifying bugs by myself, but everyone pitched in as needed whenever someone in our group had sampling trips or research tasks that required several people.  One of my friends was studying the impacts of the chemicals in wastewater (pharmaceuticals, fire and flame retardants, anti-microbial soaps, etc) on fish and had to take blood samples a few times a year.  It took days and a lot of people to make it happen, but I thought it was a ton of fun and I learned a lot.  And look at this fish!

bonytail fish

Bonytail in a recovery tank after having blood drawn

Isn’t she a beaut?  This is an endangered Arizona native fish, the bonytail chub (Gila elegans), and I think it’s stunning!

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4 thoughts on “Well-Nigh Wordless Wendesday: Not an Insect (Part 2)

    • I can’t share the exact research she did because it’s still unpublished, but the student that worked with these fish before she did found that the endocrine disrupting compounds in wastewater have severe impacts on gonadal development to the point that males start producing female hormones and vice versa. It’s pretty crazy! Exactly what is causing this shift is unclear as the wastewater we used to house the fish was a nasty mix of hundreds of different compounds, but it was clear that the water had the potential to cause huge problems for bonytail reproduction, problems that you’d be likely to see in other native desert fishes. Many other people have found the same sorts of patterns in several other species of fish in many different areas. The overall picture that’s developing is wastewater in fish habitats = very bad!

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