DAO 73:235-244 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/dao073235

Characterisation of a low pathogenic form of Gyrodactylus salaris from rainbow trout

Thomas R. Jørgensen, Thomas B. Larsen, Louise G. Jørgensen, José Bresciani, Per W. Kania, Kurt Buchmann*

Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Laboratory of Fish Diseases, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Stigbøjlen 7, Frederiksberg C, Denmark
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Gyrodactylus salaris was isolated from rainbow trout in a Danish freshwater trout farm, and a laboratory population of this particular parasite form was established on rainbow trout. Challenge infections were performed using different salmonid strains and species, including East Atlantic salmon Salmo salar (from the Danish River Skjernå), Baltic salmon S. salar (from the Swedish River Ume älv) and rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss (from the Danish rainbow trout farm Fousing). These were compared to infection studies on the Norwegian Lærdalselva parasite form kept under exactly the same conditions in the laboratory. The Danish G. salaris form had low virulence towards both Atlantic and Baltic salmon, whereas rainbow trout proved susceptible to the parasite. The Danish G. salaris form was able to maintain a very low infection on East Atlantic salmon, but not on the Baltic salmon, which eliminated the infection within 2 wk. Rainbow trout developed infection intensities ranging up to several hundred parasites per host. The host colonization patterns of the parasite differed clearly from those of previous studies on microhabitats of the Norwegian form of G. salaris. A comparative study on morphological characters (opisthaptoral hard parts) from the Danish parasite form and Norwegian G. salaris showed no significant differences. Selected genes comprising internal transcribed spacers 1 and 2 (ITS), ribosomal RNA intergenic spacer (IGS) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) regions were cloned and sequenced. Five sequenced ITS clones from 5 individuals of the Danish strain consistently revealed a single base substitution compared to ITS sequences from all other known species and strains of Gyrodactylus. Mitochondrial COI gene sequences demonstrated that the Danish G. salaris form is closely similar to the Lærdalselva parasite form found in Norway. The IGS sequences were highly variable, but very similar to those obtained from German isolates of G. salaris.


KEY WORDS: Gyrodactylus salari · Rainbow trout · Pathogenicity · Diagnostic · ITS · IGS · COI


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