Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Range expansion and factors affecting abundance of invasive flathead catfish in the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

Flathead Catfish Pylodictis olivaris have been either intentionally or accidentally introduced into Atlantic Slope drainages extending from Florida to Pennsylvania and have quickly become established. In Pennsylvania, Flathead Catfish were first detected in the Schuylkill River at the Fairmont Dam in 1999 and in the Susquehanna River at Safe Harbor Dam in 2002. The species has since moved throughout the respective basins, with subsequent detections during 244 riverine surveys in these drainages. Fishway and electrofishing surveys in the tidal Schuylkill River, a Delaware River tributary, have documented an increase in abundances since 2004, when the surveys were first implemented. Hoop-net surveys in nontidal large-river reaches found mean (±SD) catch rates varying from 0.00 to 4.51 ± 4.38 fish/series. A Bayesian hierarchical Poisson regression model indicated that Flathead Catfish abundance decreased as the distance from the initial point of detection increased, demonstrating a general pattern of fish expansion upstream from the point of detection. The distance downstream of the nearest dam, although not significant, had a relatively high posterior probability of being negatively correlated with Flathead Catfish abundance. Ongoing and future targeted surveys should help to better understand changes in the distribution and abundance of Flathead Catfish in these systems.