Comparison of channel catfish age estimates and resulting population demographics using two common structures
Sagittal otoliths and the articulating process of the pectoral spine have both been validated as accurate techniques for estimating the age of channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus (≤age 4). However, there is limited information on the relative precision of estimates from these two structures. Thus, we analyzed the precision of age estimates derived from otoliths and the articulating process of the pectoral spine and compared the dynamic processes (recruitment, growth, and mortality) resulting from those estimates. Aging structures were removed from 110 channel catfish captured from the Wabash River (river kilometers 550–9.6) via day–time electrofishing. The age estimation methodologies were similar to those described in previous studies. Agreement between the ages derived from the two structures was high; the average percent error was 8.4%, the coefficient of variation was 11.4, and the slope of the age bias plots did not differ from 1, indicating similar age assignments between structures. The corresponding recruitment patterns, von Bertalanffy growth models, and mortality rates did not differ between the aging structures. We conclude that the articulating process of the pectoral spine provides age assignments similar to those of otoliths and that the dynamic processes do not differ between structures. Further, based on the results of this study, the articulating process of the pectoral spine provides a suitable alternative to otoliths and has the advantage that channel catfish do not have to be sacrificed.
Colombo, Robert E., Quinton E. Phelps, Candice M. Miller, James E. Garvey, Roy C. Heidinger, and Nathaniel S. Richards. "Comparison of channel catfish age estimates and resulting population demographics using two common structures." North American Journal of Fisheries Management 30, no. 1 (2010): 305-308.
North American Journal of Fisheries Management