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Research article2013Peer reviewed

Evaluation of surgical implantation of electronic tags in European eel and effects of different suture materials

Thorstad, Eva B.; Økland, Finn; Westerberg, Håkan; Aarestrup, Kim; Metcalfe, Julian D.


Effects of implanting data-storage tags in European eel, Anguilla anguilla, and the suitability of different suture materials (braided permanent silk, permanent monofilament, absorbable and absorbable antibacterial) were examined. The tags consisted of an electronic unit and three floats on a wire, making them flexible and able to follow the swimming movements of the eel. No mortality occurred, and tagged fish did not differ from the control fish in growth. Sutures were shed or dissolved slowly. After 4 weeks, there was no difference among the groups in the proportion of sutures left. After 6 months, fish with braided silk had largely shed their sutures, fish with monofilament sutures had the majority of sutures left, whereas the fish with absorbable sutures were intermediate in between. Fish with monofilament sutures showed the least-extensive inflammation reactions and fastest wound healing. Antibacterial treatment had no effect on inflammation or healing rates. After 6 months, the tag started to become expelled through the incision in five fish (12%). The internal reaction appeared stronger around the floats, suggesting that the coating material of the floats created a tissue reaction, which should be further investigated. Intraperitoneal implantation appears to be a suitable tagging method for European silver eel, and it is recommended to close incisions using permanent monofilament sutures.


Anguilla anguilla; archival tag; body implant; DST; tagging effect; telemetry

Published in

Marine and freshwater research
2013, Volume: 64, number: 4, pages: 324-331

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

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