Black Warrior Waterdogs – Success in Alabama
Unfortunately, the two creeks in the Mobile River Drainage, where the TYPE and PARATYPE species of Necturus lödingi have been found, were covered with trash. Luckily, we had one other creek to examine. From a bridge overlooking the creek, we noticed a tiny leaf pack on a semi-steep bank about 20-feet up the creek. Within the first scoop, we caught two, then three, and then four waterdogs! While there wasn’t much further north, once we headed down stream we found another leaf pack. Again, two, then three waterdogs!
In total, we captured 16 juvenile waterdogs and 1 adult.
We proceeded to the Perdido River Drainage in southern Alabama. We didn’t have many exact locality creeks to go by , but we saw a few good water sources. While water levels were a bit too low, this same drainage is in Florida and we can pick it up when we conduct our survey in Florida.
We decided to head east in Alabama, and we arrived at the Conecuh River Drainage. We had a few known localities for this drainage. We stopped at a locality creek and unfortunately, had no luck. There was another spot north of this site and we headed that direction. On the map it looked like a decent sized creek. We walked far upstream and there were no leaves. The bed of the creek was much different than any other creek we had been to. Most creek beds are sand, but this creek was mostly gravel.
We walked down stream and finally found a leaf pack, but there were no waterdogs. Walking further downstream we found a huge leaf pile. Which, was surprising because the creek had a very strong flow so any leaf beds should have been swept away. We started scooping, and after the second scoop we found a tiny larvae waterdog. It was a fresh hatchling only about an inch long. We thought we found another great spot and dip netted for about an hour, but found no additional waterdogs.
All in all, we found waterdogs in three drainages. For being a last minute trip, the results were pretty good. Some spots were a bit early in the season, so we’ll have to sample those at another time.