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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 135:193-199 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03391

Endoparasitic helminths in Baltic salmon Salmo salar: ecological implications

Agung Cahyo Setyawan, Shaozhi Zuo, Per W. Kania, Kurt Buchmann*

Department of Veterinary and Animal Science, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C 1870, Denmark
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Parasites in fish are ecological indicators, as they reflect the host’s migration routes, feeding behavior and immune status. We performed a parasitological investigation of sea-running Baltic salmon to study the use of parasites as indicators for this fish stock. The host—a strain of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar—has been isolated for several millennia in the semi-enclosed brackish Baltic Sea, with limited migration to and from the North Sea. Twenty-four salmon (total body weight: 4.2-14.2 kg; total body length: 80-105 cm) were caught by spoon bait in the southern Baltic Sea during feeding migrations, necropsied shortly afterwards and internal organs subjected to parasitological investigation focusing on endoparasitic helminths. The pyloric region was heavily parasitized by the cestode Eubothrium crassum (100% prevalence; intensity: 97-273 parasites per infected fish), reflecting a diet of smaller pelagic fishes. The stomach contained the hemiurid digeneans Brachyphallus crenatus (95.8% prevalence; intensity: 8-151) and Hemiurus luehei (58.3% prevalence; intensity: 2-13), indicating a diet of clupeids. Schistocephalus solidus (25% prevalence; intensity: 1-2), liberated from ingested sticklebacks, the acanthocephalan Echinorhynchus truttae (54% prevalence; intensity: 1-13) and the adult nematode Hysterothylacium aduncum (29% prevalence; intensity: 1-13) were found in the intestine. The liver was parasitized by third-stage nematode larvae of Contracaecum osculatum (45.8% prevalence; intensity: 1-4), but these were growth-stunted and encapsulated. The parasite fauna differs markedly from salmon in North Atlantic waters, and the lack of purely marine parasite species indicates that the Baltic salmon has remained in the Baltic Sea during its life history.


KEY WORDS: Baltic Sea · Salmon · Parasites · Helminths · Ecoparasitology · Life cycle


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Cite this article as: Setyawan AC, Zuo S, Kania PW, Buchmann K (2019) Endoparasitic helminths in Baltic salmon Salmo salar: ecological implications. Dis Aquat Org 135:193-199. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03391

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