Seasonal variations in home range size and habitat preference of flathead catfish in a West Texas reservoir
Weller, Robert R.
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The purpose of my thesis research was to determine the variation in the home range size of flathead catfish, Pylodictis olivaris (Rafinesque), in a small West Texas reservoir, based on season, size, and sex of the fish. In addition, I analyzed seasonal variation in habitat preference for substrate, depth, and temperature. I used ultrasonic telemetry to collect the data. Chapter I of my thesis is a summary of the existing information concerning flathead catfish biology and a literature review of relevant telemetry research. Chapter II contains my data on home range and habitat use and Chapter III contains temperature use. There is little information in the literature concerning home range and habitat use of flathead catfish in small lentic environments. Small reservoirs are numerous throughout the United States and have enormous potential for recreational fishing. As these reservoirs age, they are more susceptible to changes in habitat due to siltation than are larger bodies of water. These changes may have adverse effects on the fish populations. A better understanding of flathead catfish behavior and habitat use in these environments will assist fisheries researchers and biologists in the management of this important game fish. In addition, a better understanding of flathead catfish habitat use will directly benefit sport fishermen by indicating the best places to harvest these fish.