MEPS 186:211-217 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/meps186211

Wavelength-specific behaviour in Lepeophtheirus salmonis and Calanus finmarchicus to ultraviolet and visible light in laboratory experiments (Crustacea: Copepoda)

Knut A. Aarseth1,*, Thomas A. Schram2

1Agricultural University of Norway, PO Box 5065, 1432 Aas, Norway
2Department of Biology, Section of Marine Zoology and Marine Chemistry, University of Oslo, PO Box 1064 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway

ABSTRACT: The significance of ultraviolet light as a cue in diel vertical migration of free-swimming copepodids of the ectoparasite salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer) and adults of the holopelagic Calanus finmarchicus (Gunnerus) were examined in the laboratory. Copepodids of salmon lice were photopositive in 1 m deep water columns when illuminated with visible light (VIS) only, but when VIS was combined with ultraviolet light, with a spectral irradiance maximum at 313 nm, the copepodids gathered significantly deeper in the water column. In similar experiments C. finmarchicus did not show upward migration as a response to VIS, and a combination with ultraviolet light did not alter their normal behaviour. In 250 ml beakers, however, C. finmarchicus showed avoidance behaviour upon being exposed to UV-light; the copepods swam vigorously with prosome pointing downwards as if they were trying to escape from the irradiation. We conclude that these copepods must have sensory structures not yet described which can detect UV-radiation. Possible implications of these findings are discussed in relation to vertical migration and to host-finding in the salmon louse.


KEY WORDS: Copepods · Calanus finmarchicus · Lepeophtheirus salmonis · Diel vertical migration · UVR


Full text in pdf format