Spore-forming parasites infecting muscles of freshwater fishes : ecology and epidemiology
Fish parasites may potentially harm fisheries and aquaculture. Infected fish are unusable, even though they would not pose a direct risk to human health. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the ecology and epidemiology of three previously unknown or poorly known spore-forming parasites infecting muscles of economically important fish species. The first novel microsporidian species, here described as Microsporidium luciopercae, was found from pike-perch (Sander lucioperca) and European perch (Perca fluviatilis) and formed opaque-looking patches in the muscles. The second novel microsporidian species, Myosporidium spraguei, was found from pike-perch and burbot (Lota lota) and occurred within xenomas in the musculature. The third muscle-dwelling parasite, Henneguya zschokkei (Cnidaria), formed white plasmodia in the muscle of whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus). Among the six study lakes, the prevalence of M. luciopercae in wild pike-perch and perch varied from 0 to 1 %, while M. spraguei was more common (prevalence of 5–26 % in pike-perch and 65 % in burbot). M. spraguei was strongly aggregated and most abundant in the middle-sized (37–45 cm) pike-perch and in larger burbot (> 35 cm), but the infection was not related to host sex, sampling season or host condition. In the case of H. zschokkei, in two inland fish farms, one year-old whitefish were virtually uninfected, but the prevalence of infection was higher in 2 and 3 year old fish (up to 36 % of 3 year old fish were infected). New infections appeared seasonally in July-August. Neither the size of plasmodia nor the proportion of different plasmodium types changed from 2 to 3 year old fish, suggesting slow development of H. zschokkei in whitefish. However, the proportion of infected fish with melanised plasmodia increased with fish age, suggesting an age-dependent host response against this strongly aggregated parasite. ...
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
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- Väitöskirjat 
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