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Diet Composition of Invasive Flathead Catfish in the Susquehanna River Basin: Quantifying Impacts on Native and Migratory Fishes and Recreational Fisheries

Flathead Catfish Pylodictis olivaris 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 policy and fisheries management in the Susquehanna River Basin by increasing our understanding about the predatory effects and potential ecological consequences of invasive Flathead Catfish.

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