Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Pennsylvania
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Pennsylvania Project

Comparison of age and growth parameters of Flathead Catfish in invasive and native populations: A meta-analysis with implications for invasive species management in Pennsylvania

February 2018 - January 2020


Participating Agencies

  • PA Sea Grant

Flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) are a long-live apex predator native to the Mississippi, Mobile and Rio Grande drainages, and the Laurentian Great Lakes region. These fish have been introduced into most of the East Coast and areas of the Western US. Introduced Flathead Catfish populations often have detrimental effects on native fauna. In the Atlantic Slope portions of Pennsylvania the status of flathead catfish has not been adequately documented. Several large to medium-sized river systems in Pennsylvania have yet to be surveyed so the residency status of flathead catfish in those systems remains unknown. The primary objective of the project will be to determine flathead catfish distribution, and estimate abundance and population characteristics for both native and introduced populations in Pennsylvania. Much of the focus of the analysis will include age and growth analysis and modeling to put the current population status in the introduced range in a larger regional context for management purposes moving forward. Several other Atlantic Slope drainage have encountered similar invasions in recent decades so comparison with Pennsylvania populations with those will help to predict what to expect moving forward with existing populations as well as in areas where they have not yet invaded.