DAO 59:43-47 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/dao059043

Tissue damage and haematophagia due to praniza larvae (Isopoda: Gnathiidae) in some aquarium seawater teleosts

F. Marino1,*, S. Giannetto1, M. L. Paradiso1, T. Bottari2, G. De Vico1, B. Macrì1

1Dept. Sanità Pubblica Veterinaria, Unit of Pathology and Unit of Parasitology, University of Messina, Polo Universitario dell¹Annunziata, 98168 Messina, Italy
2CNR-IAMC, Section of Messina, Spianata S. Raineri 86, 98122 Messina, Italy

ABSTRACT: Over a 5 yr period, severe infestations due to Gnathia vorax larvae affecting different teleosts have been registered at the Civic Aquarium of Messina, Italy. Here, the damage caused by these parasites is evaluated from a macroscopical and histopathological point of view. We also attempt to evaluate the amount of blood sucked up by a single parasite and make some observations about the haematophagia. The histopathological changes confirm mucosal electrolytic failure as the main problem, even though the mean value of blood sucked up by a single parasite, about 1.9 mg, suggests that haematophagia may play an important role in the pathogenesis of such infestation. In conclusion, it was found that the G. vorax larvae caused 2-fold damage that was responsible for the death of the fish. Little by little, the parasitic problem was successfully removed by washing the tank, using fresh water rather than costly and dangerous chemotherapeutans.


KEY WORDS: Gnathia vorax · Isopoda · Gnathiidae · Teleost · Haematophagia · Histopathology


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