Intermediate-Term (6 month) Survival of Adult Tautog Following Catch and Release, Determined by Ultrasonic Telemetry
M. D. Arendt and J. A. Lucy
Adult tautog Tautoga onitis (400–514 mm total length [TL]) were internally tagged with ultrasonic transmitters in order to study seasonal occurrence, site utilization, and daily activity patterns at natural and manmade study sites within areas of known tautog habitat in the lower Chesapeake Bay near Cape Charles, Virginia (Arendt et al. 2001a, 2001b). In addition to these data, catch-andrelease survival data were also gathered and are presented in this paper.
Tautog were opportunistically collected using standard two-hook bottom rigs, tagged with ultrasonic transmitters, and released at sites where collected within two hours of capture. Two groups of fish were released: the first (fall group) from 9 November to 8 December 1998 ( n = 19) and the second (spring group) from 21 April to 9 June 1999 ( n = 14). The ultrasonic transmitters (V-16–1H- 256, Vemco, Ltd.) were surgically implanted into the visceral cavity between the pelvic fins and anus, just dorsal to the ventral midline in 27 male and 6 female tautog. All fish were subdued to level-four anesthesia, using MS-222 (325 mg/L) prior to surgery. Incision closure was made using surgical sutures, staples, and acrylic adhesive glue. Antibiotics (0.5 mL) were administered intramuscularly near the base of the caudal peduncle. All surgical procedures and materials were sterile and aseptic, and procedures were approved by the Research on Animal Subjects Committee at the College of William and Mary. Anesthesia, surgery, and revival of tagged tautog lasted approximately 20 minutes. Tautog were released within 15 minutes, after recovery from surgery.