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

Long, J. M. and D. R. Stewart. 2010. Verification of otolith identity used by fisheries scientists for aging channel catfish. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 139:1775-1779.


Previously published studies of age estimation of channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) based on otoliths have reported using the sagittae and not the lapilli, which are the largest otoliths in this species. Based on scanning electron microscope (SEM) microphotographs of channel catfish otoliths, x-ray computed tomography (CT) scans of a channel catfish head, descriptions of techniques used to removed otoliths from channel catfish reported in the literature, and a sample of channel catfish otoliths received from fisheries biologists from around the country; it is clear that lapilli are most often used for channel catfish aging studies, not sagittae as has been previously reported. Fisheries scientists who obtain otoliths from channel catfish can use the information in this paper to correctly identify the otolith.