Effects of Incubation Temperature and Parental Male Species on Hatching Success and Progeny Performance of Channel Catfish and Hybrid Catfish

Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) x blue catfish (I. furcatus) hybrid fry production is variable and inconsistent in hatcheries, and there is sometimes an unsatisfactory reduction in the yield of viable fry that occurs during the final weeks of a spawning season. There are several possible reasons for these inconsistencies of production—this study investigates two: hatchery water temperature and the species of the parental male. Regarding water temperature, broodfish are often exposed to 30°-35° C temperature in ponds during the final weeks of spawning season in late spring, resulting in poor egg quality, hatching success, and fry survival. In this study, broodfish were held at optimal temperatures (26.6° C), and fertilized eggs were incubated at either 26.6° C or 32.2° C to approximate water temperatures of peak and latter part of the spawning season. To study effects of male species on spawning success, eight catfish females were induce-spawned and stripped eggs were fertilized with either channel catfish sperm to produce channel catfish families or blue catfish sperm to produce hybrid catfish families. Although incubation temperature and parental male species can affect hatching success of catfish eggs in the hatchery, subsequent survival and progeny performance in this study were unaffected under hatchery conditions. Results of this study suggest that optimizing incubation temperatures and broodfish selection during embryo development are essential for consistent and increased hybrid catfish fry production. Findings from this study can help catfish production by improving the efficiency of hatchery production and decreasing the cost per fish to produce in private or state hatcheries.

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