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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 139:223-232 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03477

High occurrence rate of xanthomatosis and nephrocalcinosis in aquarium-housed Atlantic wolffish Anarhichas lupus and spotted wolffish A. minor

Karine Béland1, Emiko Wong2, Jean-François St-Cyr3, Stéphane Lair1,3,*

1Centre québécois sur la santé des animaux sauvages/Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St. Hyacinthe, Quebec J2S 8H5, Canada
2Biodôme de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec H1V 1B3, Canada
3Sépaq, Aquarium du Québec, Quebec City, Quebec G1W 4S3, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The Atlantic wolffish (AW) and the spotted wolffish (SW) are long-lived fish found in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans and are respectively classified as special concern and threatened species, mainly due to fisheries bycatch. To better understand health issues associated with the care of these species in public aquaria, reports from all necropsies performed in 2 zoological institutions between 2009 and 2019 were reviewed (31 AW and 8 SW). These wolffish were fed with a similar fish-based diet and kept in multi-species exhibits with comparable environmental parameters. The most frequent necropsy findings were the presence of xanthomas (AW: 41.9%; SW: 75.0%), nephrocalcinosis (AW: 42.9%; SW: 75.0%) and urocystoliths (AW: 6.5%; SW: 62.5%). Xanthomas were mostly located at the base of pectoral fins and were characterized by extensive granulomatous inflammation centered on accumulations of partly mineralized degenerate fatty material, mainly composed of cholesterol crystals. Nephrocalcinosis was characterized by the deposition of calcium salts within the renal tubules and was commonly associated with tubular necrosis. The aquarium-housed wolffish were fed a coldwater fish-based diet. However, the natural diet of wolffish is composed mostly of invertebrates such as urchins and crustaceans. Differences in nutrient composition between these diets, such as lipid and mineral content, may have contributed to the development of xanthomatosis, nephrocalcinosis and urocystolithiasis in wolffish housed in these institutions.


KEY WORDS: Wolffish · Anarhichas · Xanthoma · Nephrocalcinosis · Urolith · Dyslipidemia


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Cite this article as: Béland K, Wong E, St-Cyr JF, Lair S (2020) High occurrence rate of xanthomatosis and nephrocalcinosis in aquarium-housed Atlantic wolffish Anarhichas lupus and spotted wolffish A. minor. Dis Aquat Org 139:223-232. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03477

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