Homing Behavior of Flathead Catfish, Pylodictis Olivaris (Rafinesque), Tagged with Ultrasonic Transmitters

Homing behavior of flathead catfish in an Oklahoma reservoir was observed by tracking fish bearing a 74 kHz transmitter which had been implanted in the peritoneal cavity. Homing is described from 1,190 fixes (site locations) obtained on 22 flathead catfish. The average tracking interval was 18.7 days. Homing occurred in 8 of 12 (67%) fish displaced a distance of 1.3-2.7 km from the site of capture. Average accuracy of homing fish was within 182m of the original site of capture. One transmitter tagged fish, displaced 1.82 km, returned to the site of capture within 1.7 days. All 12 displaced fish, regardless of whether or not they homed, moved away from their release site before establishing a home range. Most (70%) of the 10 non-displaced fish remained in a well-defined area near the site of release (i.e., the original site of capture) which also provided evidence that the fish recognized a home area. Only 4 of 18 displaced catfish marked with butt end and anchor tags (i.e., without transmitters) were recaptured, none exhibited homing.

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