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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 143:159-168 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03559

Massive infection of Cystidicoloides ephemeridarum in brown trout Salmo trutta with skeletal deformities

C. Iaria1, N. Spanò2, A. Smeriglio1, F. Capparucci1, G. De Benedetto3, G. Lanteri3,*, F. Marino1, S. Macheda4, F. Macrì3, A. Belvedere5, M. D’Agostino5, F. Caridi5, S. Marguccio5, A. Salvo6, G. Acri2, A. Siclari7, M. V. Brundo8, D. Trombetta1

1Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental Sciences, University of Messina, 98166, Italy
2Department of Biomedical, Dental Sciences and Morphological and Functional Images, University of Messina, 98147, Italy
3Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Messina, 98168, Italy
4Servizio di Anestesia e Rianimazione, Azienda Ospedaliera Bianchi-Melacrino-Morelli, Reggio Calabria 89124, Italy
5Environmental Protection Agency of Calabria, Italy (ARPACal), Department of Reggio Calabria, Reggio Calabria 89135, Italy
6Department of Chemistry and Drug Technology, University of Roma La Sapienza, Roma 00185, Italy
7National Park of Aspromonte, Gambarie Di S.Stefano In Aspromonte 89057, Italy
8Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Science, University of Catania, 95129, Italy
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: We investigated the cause of skeletal deformities found in brown trout from the Aspromonte mountain area in Reggio Calabria, Italy. Toxicological, histopathological and parasitological analyses were carried out on 14 fish with evident macro-morphological alterations from 2 different locations in the same river, and 4 control fish without morphological alterations from a different river (far from the first river but still within the area under study). Histopathological and radiological observations confirmed severe skeletal deformities in the specimens investigated. Parasitological examinations highlighted the presence of the nematode Cystidicoloides ephemeridarum, found only within the gastrointestinal tract of specimens showing deformities. Moreover, a direct correlation between parasite number and fish size was found. Given the low heavy metal levels and the presence of a massive parasitosis in teleosts showing deformities, we postulate a correlation between skeletal deformities and nematode infestation: the parasites caused a serious vitamin and mineral deficiency in the fish, which led to a dysplastic vertebral column. The low calcium levels found in malformed specimens compared with negative controls effectively confirm this hypothesis.


KEY WORDS: Malabsorption · Salmonidae · Scoliosis · Sterliadochona


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Cite this article as: Iaria C, Spanò N, Smeriglio A, Capparucci F and others (2021) Massive infection of Cystidicoloides ephemeridarum in brown trout Salmo trutta with skeletal deformities. Dis Aquat Org 143:159-168. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03559

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