DAO 85:245-249 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02082

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Turbellarian black spot disease in bluespine unicornfish Naso unicornis in New Caledonia, caused by the parasitic turbellarian Piscinquilinus sp.

Jean-Lou Justine1,*, Philippe Leblanc2, Florent Keller2, Robert J. G. Lester3

1Équipe Biogéographie Marine Tropicale, Unité Systématique, Adaptation, Évolution (CNRS, UPMC, MNHN, IRD), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, BP A5, 98848 Nouméa Cedex, New Caledonia
2Aquarium des Lagons, BP 8185, 98807 Nouméa, New Caledonia
3Parasitology, SCBS, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia

ABSTRACT: Turbellarian black spot disease is described in a bluespine unicornfish Naso unicornis (Perciformes, Acanthuridae) collected from the wild off Nouméa, New Caledonia, South Pacific. Each cyst contained a whitish worm, 2 to 4 mm in length, which was able to swim freely in seawater. Cyst walls consisted of fibrous tissue with a scattering of melanocytes. Worms had 2 eyespots at the anterior end, a pharynx at the posterior end and a largely undeveloped reproductive system. They were identified as Piscinquilinus sp. (= Ichthyophaga sp.), a genostomatid turbellarian. The disease spread within 2 wk from a single infected fish to 3 other unicornfish in the same tank, in spite of copper sulphate and diluted seawater treatment; however, other fish from several families kept in the same tank were not infected, suggesting specificity of these parasites. Praziquantel injections into the infected fish eliminated the infection. Other cases of turbellarian infections are reported from 7 fish species off New Caledonia; prevalence is very low (0.3%).


KEY WORDS: Black spot disease · Fish · Naso unicornis · Turbellaria · New Caledonia · Piscinquilinus  · Ichthyophaga


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Cite this article as: Justine JL, Leblanc P, Keller F, Lester RJG (2009) Turbellarian black spot disease in bluespine unicornfish Naso unicornis in New Caledonia, caused by the parasitic turbellarian Piscinquilinus sp.. Dis Aquat Org 85:245-249. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02082

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