Natural flow events influence the behaviour and movement patterns of eel-tailed catfish (Tandanus tandanus) in a subtropical Queensland river

Burndred, Kate R., Cockayne, Bernie J., Donaldson, James A., and Ebner, Brendan C. (2018) Natural flow events influence the behaviour and movement patterns of eel-tailed catfish (Tandanus tandanus) in a subtropical Queensland river. Australian Journal of Zoology, 66 (3). pp. 185-194.

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Understanding the movement ecology of freshwater fishes, and how these patterns are affected by flow, is important for identifying key threats to populations and predicting their response to management strategies. We used acoustic telemetry to investigate the day-to-day behaviour and movement patterns of eel-tailed catfish (Tandanus tandanus) and examine how their behaviour was affected by natural changes to the flow regime in a subtropical river. Movement patterns varied within the tagged population: 29% were sedentary, 64% undertook interpool movements and 7% undertook reach-scale movements. The mean maximum distance travelled was 0.75 km (±0.33, s.e.) and the maximum distance travelled was 16.9 km downstream. Fish moved upstream and downstream between pools mostly at dawn and dusk, presumably to feed in riffles. Most interpool movements were undertaken during low-flow conditions (<0.2 m s–1 and <6.0 m3 s–1). Generally, the population responded inconsistently to flow events; however, the greatest movement response was detected during the first post-winter flow. Although fish preferred to move on an event fall, several fish continued to move throughout the study reach under baseflow conditions. Management strategies protecting low-flow conditions that maintain connectivity between daytime refuges and riffles may be important for the species' conservation. The effective delivery of post-winter flow events, particularly in perennial systems, is likely to provide critical dispersal opportunities and aid long-term population viability.

Item ID: 57421
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1446-5698
Keywords: acoustic telemetry, connectivity, home-range, hydrograph, migration, Plotosidae, river regulation
Copyright Information: © CSIRO 2018
Funders: Queensland Government
Projects and Grants: Queensland Government Environmental Flows Assessment Program
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2019 07:43
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310304 Freshwater ecology @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960913 Water Allocation and Quantification @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960807 Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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