DAO 54:157-162 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/dao054157

Parasitic infections in freshwater ornamental fish in Sri Lanka

I. D. S. I. P. Thilakaratne1,*, G. Rajapaksha2, A. Hewakopara3, R. P. V. J. Rajapakse4, A. C. M. Faizal1

1Veterinary Research Institute, Gannoruwa, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
2Veterinary Investigation Centre, Welisera, Sri Lanka
3Animal Quarantine Station, Colombo, Sri Lanka
4Department of Para Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

ABSTRACT: A total of 1520 ornamental fish of 13 species from 26 export farms in Sri Lanka were collected between October 1999 and March 2000 and examined for parasites. Fish species examined were guppy Poecilia reticulata, goldfish Carassius auratus, platy Xiphophorus maculatus, molly Poecilia sphenops, angel Pterophyllum scalare, swordtail Xiphophorus helleri, tetras Hyphessobrycon species, barbs Capeota and Puntius spp., gourami Colisa sp., carp Cyprinus carpio, fighters Betta spelendens and others (Brachydanio and Astronotus spp.). Nine species of monogenean trematodes (Dactylogyrus extensus, Dactylogyrus cf. extensus, D. vastator, Dactylogyrus cf. vastator Dactylogyrus spp., Gyrodactylus turnbulli, G. katherineri, Gyrodactylus cf. katherineri, Gyrodactylus spp.), 7 protozoan species (Trichodina nigra, Trichodina spp., Tetrahymena corlissi, T. pyriformis, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, Ichthyobodo necator, Piscinoodinium spp.), 3 species of copepod arthropods (Lernaea cyprinacea, Ergasilus ceylonensis, Argulus foliaceus), 1 metacercarial stage of a digenean trematode (Centrocestus spp.) and 1 nematode (Capillaria spp.) were identified. Parasites were found in fish from 23 of the 26 farms with an overall prevalence of parasitism in 45.3% of fish. The variation in farm prevalence among different parasites was significant (p < 0.01). Fish infection rates with monogenean trematodes, protozoans, copepod crustaceans, digenean trematodes and nematodes were 28.3, 18.4, 4.8, 0.8 and 0.4%, respectively. In all, 50 out of 590 (50/590) guppies were infected with Tetrahymena, compared with 13/930 for all other species, which is a statistically significant result (p < 0.01). Similarly, 13/44 and 18/44 carp were infected with Argulus foliaceus and Lernaea cyprinacea, compared with 7/1476 and 15/1476, respectively, for all other species combined (p < 0.01). Capillaria spp. was found only in guppies (4/590) and angel fish (3/92) while Centrocestus spp. was found in goldfish (12/153) only.

KEY WORDS: Parasite · Prevalence · Ornamental fish · Tropics

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