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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 11:429-443 (2019)  -  DOI:

Development of the salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis parasitic stages in temperatures ranging from 3 to 24°C

Lars Are Hamre1,*, Samantha Bui2, Frode Oppedal2, Rasmus Skern-Mauritzen3, Sussie Dalvin4

1SLRC - Sea Lice Research Centre, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Bergen, Postbox 7803, 5020 Bergen, Norway
2Institute of Marine Research, 5984 Matredal, Norway
3Institute of Marine Research, 5817 Bergen, Norway
4SLRC - Sea Lice Research Centre, Institute of Marine Research, 5817 Bergen, Norway
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The development rate of the salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis is greatly influenced by seawater temperature. This study describes how the growth rate of L. salmonis changes with temperature and identifies the extreme high and low temperatures at which development to the adult stage is compromised. Atlantic salmon Salmo salar were infected with copepodids and development was monitored in 8 temperature groups spanning 3 to 24°C until the lice were adults. Development was severely compromised at 3 and 24°C, while the lice developed normally in the temperature range from 6 to 21°C. At 6°C, most female lice had become adults at 72 d post infection (432 degree-days). At 21°C, development was significantly faster and most females were adults after 13 d, at only 271 degree-days. After infection, lice grew through 5 stages before reaching the adult stage, all of which, with a few exceptions, appeared to last approximately equally long. Thus, a simple model describing the mean daily growth rate (stages per day) as a function of temperature was made for each sex. The relationship between mean daily growth rate and temperature was best described by a second-order polynomial. The term relative age is introduced and used to describe the pattern of development in terms of percent of total development time to the adult stage. This was applied to calculate the timing of developmental events as a function of temperature. Photoperiod and development under rising or decreasing temperatures had minor effects on development rate.

KEY WORDS: Salmo salar · Molt rate · Thermal tolerance · Reproduction · Lepeophtheirus salmonis · Poikilotherm · Ecdysis

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Cite this article as: Hamre LA, Bui S, Oppedal F, Skern-Mauritzen R, Dalvin S (2019) Development of the salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis parasitic stages in temperatures ranging from 3 to 24°C. Aquacult Environ Interact 11:429-443.

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