September 10, 2014
Mudfish released back into habitat
Tangata whenua and students from the local school joined representatives from the NZ Transport Agency, Fletchers Construction and Kessels Ecology this week for the return of rare black mudfish back into the swamp near Rangiriri.
The fish had been caught and moved to specialised tanks at the University of Waikato while part of the Waikato Expressway was built over their home.
Kessels senior freshwater ecologist Jenny Price says the black mudfish is only found in the Waikato and a few pockets of Northland, and they're about the same size as their distant cousin the inanga or whitebait.
They complete their life cycle in fresh water, and they have evolved to survive over summer when their habitat dries out.
" What they'll do is they'll burrow under damp vegetation or a log or into the mud and then they actually have the ability to breathe through their skin absorbing oxygen and they slow their metabolism right down that way they can remain motionless throughout the summer and then once it rains again in the autumn they'll wake up straight away for moss pretty much " she says.
Jenny Price says Kessells Ecology will monitor the whitebait for three years in their new home, which includes native plants and a winding stream channel, surrounded by shallower wetland areas where they can be safe from predators such as eels.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER PRICE CLICK ON THE LINK
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