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

Ivasauskas, T., and P.W. Bettoli. 2012. Effects of suture material and ultrasonic transmitter size on survival, growth, wound healing, and expulsion in rainbow trout. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 141:100-106.


We examined the effects of suture material(braided silk versus Monocryl) and relative ultrasonic transmitter size on healing, growth, mortality, and tag retention in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss. In experiment 1, forty fish (205 - 281 mm total length [TL]; 106 - 264 g) were implanted with Sonotronics® IBT-96-2 (23 mm x 7 mm, weight in air 4.4 g, weight in water 2.4 g) or IBT 96-2E (30 mm x 7 mm, weight in air 4.9 g, weight in water 2.4 g) ultrasonic telemetry tags. In experiment 2, twenty larger fish (342 -405 mm TL; 520 -844 g) were implanted with Sonotronics® IBT-96-5 ultrasonic tags (36 mm x 11 mm, weight in air 9.1g, weight in water 4.1 g). Tag burdens for all implanted fish ranged from 1.1 - 3.4% and fish in both studies were held at 10-15o32 C. At the conclusion of both experiments (65-d following surgery), no mortalities were observed in any of the 60 tagged fish, most incisions were completely healed, and all fish in both experiments grew in length, although tagged fish grew slower than control fish in experiment 1. In both experiments, fish sutured with silk expelled tags more frequently than those sutured with Monocryl. Expulsion was observed in 45-50% of fish sutured with silk and 0-25% of fish sutured with Monocryl. Tag expulsion was not observed until 25 - 35 d after surgery. Fish sutured with silk exhibited a more severe inflammatory response three weeks following surgery than those sutured with Monocryl. In experiment 1, the rate of expulsion was linked to the severity of inflammation. Although braided silk sutures were applied faster than Moncryl sutures in both experiments, knots tied with either material were equally reliable and fish sutured with Moncryl experienced less inflammation and lower rates of tag expulsion.