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Seasonal development and pathological changes associated with the parasitic nematode Philometroides sanguineus in wild crucian carp Carassius carassius (L.) in England

  • C.F. Williams (a1), F. Moravec (a2), J.F. Turnbull (a3) and H.W. Ferguson (a4)

Abstract

Pathological changes associated with the parasitic nematode Philometroides sanguineus (Rudolphi, 1819) are described for the first time from observations of infections in wild crucian carp Carassius carassius (L.) in England. The damage caused by P. sanguineus was influenced strongly by host size, parasite development and the seasonal migrations of female nematodes within host tissues. Male and unfertilized female nematodes located on the swim-bladder wall caused only minor, localized changes. In contrast, the migration of gravid female nematodes into the fins during autumn provoked an acute inflammatory response comprising neutrophils, eosinophils and lymphocytes. This was accompanied by fin distortion, swelling of the dorsal and caudal tissues, degenerative changes and localized oedema. The encapsulation of female nematodes in connective tissue throughout winter limited additional tissue damage. The emergence of gravid nematodes from the fins in spring to facilitate larval dispersal caused necrosis, hyperplasia and loss of skin integrity. This activity was again accompanied by acute inflammatory reactions. Pathological changes were more severe in crucian carp measuring less than 60 mm in length, with no signs of debilitation in larger fish. These observations suggest that any impact of P. sanguineus is strictly seasonal and may be limited to fry. Lesions caused by this parasite, only recently recorded in Britain, may represent an additional pressure upon wild crucian carp populations already threatened by hybridization, competition and habitat loss.

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*Fax: +44 (0)1480 433873E-mail: chris.williams@environment-agency.gov.uk

References

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Seasonal development and pathological changes associated with the parasitic nematode Philometroides sanguineus in wild crucian carp Carassius carassius (L.) in England

  • C.F. Williams (a1), F. Moravec (a2), J.F. Turnbull (a3) and H.W. Ferguson (a4)

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