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Fish Surgery and Transmitter Encapsulation



Pictured above is an EMG transmitter implanted in the peritoneal cavity of a 35 cm smallmouth bass to examine physical output during fishway use. 

We are providers of professional fish surgery and have developed, tested and published multiple descriptions of surgical procedures for implantation of biotelemetry transmitters, electrodes, and vascular flow probes in freshwater and marine fish species.  We have invented custom surgical tools for specific research applications, and examined effects of various surgical techniques, wound-closure, and infection control methodologies relevant to fisheries research.  We have implanted radio-transmitters, acoustic transmitters, combined acoustic radio transmitters (CART) into 27 species of freshwater and marine fishes (as of 2012).



Cycleptus elongatus - CART-tagged Blue Sucker 5 months post-surgery - Sabine River, Tx/La

CART-tagged blue sucker (2012)

blue sucker with radio tag implanted for telemetry


    Xyrauchen texanus
 - Razorback Sucker - Nevada, USA

razorback sucker with radio tag implanted for telemetry      

Healed razorback sucker implanted by Biotactic in 2008 with 3 year ultrasonic transmitter - Arizona USA (Photo courtesy Bio-West Inc. 2011)

Lepisosteus oculatus - Spotted Gar - Ontario, Canada: Powertool-assisted external tagging


Ultrasonic transmitter implantation into the peritoneal cavity of a coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus - Coral Trout - Queensland, Australia), and subsequent encapsulation of transmitter after 2.5 months


surgery on a smallmouth bass, radio tag has been encapsulated surgery on a smallmouth bass, radio tag has been encapsulated surgery on a smallmouth bass, radio tag has been encapsulated
Radio transmitter encapsulation in the body cavity of a smallmouth bass after 22 months


Surgery to implant coded transmitters into small spotted redhorse (Minytrema melanops) - Texas, USA 2012

Radio-tagging blacktail redhorse (Moxostoma poecilurum) 2012

The following list of fish species have been successfully tagged with biotelemetry, radio-telemetry and sonic telemetry transmitters and/or sensors using internal and external surgical techniques for various international projects by Biotactic:

1) White Sucker - Catostomus commersoni
2) Smallmouth Bass - Micropterus dolomieu
3) Largemouth Bass - Micropterus salmoides 
4) Northern Hog Sucker - Hypentilium nigricans
5) Blue Sucker - Cylcleptus elongatus
6) Razorback Sucker - Xyrauchen texanus
7) Northern Pike - Esox lucius 
8) Greater Redhorse - Moxostoma valenciennesi
9) Shorthead Redhorse - Moxostoma macrolepidotum
10) Walleye - Sander vitreus 
11) Brook Trout - Salvelinus fontinalis
12) Brown Trout - Salmo trutta
13) Coral Trout - Plectropomus leopardus
14) Rainbow trout - Onchorynchus mykiss
15) Rock Bass - Ambloplites rupestris
16) Pumpkinseed - Lepomis gibbosus
17) Bluegill - Lepomis macrochirus
18) Black Crappie - Pomoxis nigromaculatus
19) American Eel _ Anguilla rostrata
20) Sea Lamprey - Petromyzon marinus
21) Spotted Gar - Lepeosteus oculatus
22) Atlantic Salmon - Salmo salar
23) Spotted Sucker - Minytrema melanops
24) Blacktail Redhorse - Moxostoma poecilium
Dourado – Salminus brasiliensis
26) Pintado / Mandi Amarelo  - Pimelodus maculatus
27) Grumatã / Curimbatá – 
Prochilodus lineatus


Incision and sutures of peritoneal implanted acoustic transmitter in American eel from the 1998 "Investigation of Downstream Eel Migration at the St. Lawrence-FDR Project" 

Example of gastrically inserted acoustic transmitter in American eel from the 1998 "Investigation of Downstream Eel Migration at the St. Lawrence-FDR Project"


Transmitter implantation in white sucker






Bunt, C.M., S.J. Cooke, J.F. Schreer and D.P. Philipp. 2004. Effects of incremental increases in silt load on the cardiovascular performance of riverine and lacustrine rock bass, Ambloplites rupestris.  Environmental Pollution 128:437-444.


Cooke, S. J., C.M. Bunt, J.F. Schreer and D.P. Philipp. 2002. Attachment, validation, and preliminary deployment of ultrasonic heart rate transmitters on largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, Aquatic Living Resources. 15: 155-162.


Cooke, S.J. and C.M. Bunt. 2001. Assessment of internal and external antenna configurations of radio transmitters implanted in smallmouth bass. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 21: 236-241.


Bunt, C.M. 1999. A tool to facilitate implantation of electrodes for electromyographic telemetry experiments. Journal of Fish Biology. 55: 1123-1128.


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