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

Pennsylvania Project

Diet composition of invasive Flathead Catfish in the Susquehanna River Basin: quantifying impacts on native and migratory fishes and recreational fisheries

February 2020 - January 2022


Participating Agencies

  • Pennsylvania Sea Grant

Flathead Catfish are an indiscriminate predator of other fish and an expanding invader to large river systems outside of its native range, including the Susquehanna River Basin in Pennsylvania. Research efforts are beginning to provide insight on the distribution of this invader in the Susquehanna River Basin, however, there is considerable uncertainty about the potential ecological impacts of Flathead Catfish. In particular, there are concerns about their impacts on native and migratory fish species and on economically important recreational fisheries. To begin understanding the ecological effects of Flathead Catfish invasion, we propose a comprehensive diet study on Flathead Catfish in the Susquehanna River Basin. We will quantify Flathead Catfish diet composition using morphology and molecular identification of ingested prey items. Our study will help inform future fisheries management in the Susquehanna River Basin by increasing our understanding about the predatory effects and potential ecological consequences of invasive Flathead Catfish. The project is in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Penn State University.