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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 144:107-115 (2021)  -  DOI:

Scuticociliate (Philasterides dicentrarchi) infection cluster in a multispecies marine aquarium system

Marion Jalenques1, Stéphane Lair1,2, Heike Schmidt-Posthaus3, Meret Jufer3, Benjamin Lamglait1,*

1Centre québécois sur la santé des animaux sauvages/Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St. Hyacinthe, Quebec J2S 2M2, Canada
2Aquarium du Québec, 1675 Avenue des Hôtels, Québec City, Quebec G1W 4S3, Canada
3Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Scuticociliatosis, caused by ciliated protozoa of the subclass Scuticociliatia, has been associated with high mortalities in marine fish. Environmental factors such as an increase in water temperature can enhance this disease. The aim of the present report is to describe the occurrence of a cluster of cases of scuticociliatosis in a multispecies marine cold-water system in a public aquarium. Philasterides dicentrarchi was identified by PCR in formalin-fixed tissues of some of the fish showing meningitis or meningoencephalitis, dermatitis and myositis with intralesional protozoa. An increase in water temperature of approximately 2°C was identified as a potential contributing factor for this cluster of infections. Higher temperature may have enhanced the propagation or pathogenicity of scuticociliates or increased host susceptibility of some species of fish, especially wolf-eel Anarrhichthys ocellatus and spotted ratfish Hydrolagus colliei. This report also highlights the complexity of dealing with mixed species systems housing fish from different natural ecozones.

KEY WORDS: Scuticociliatosis · Teleost · Chimaera · Encephalitis · Temperature

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Cite this article as: Jalenques M, Lair S, Schmidt-Posthaus H, Jufer M, Lamglait B (2021) Scuticociliate (Philasterides dicentrarchi) infection cluster in a multispecies marine aquarium system. Dis Aquat Org 144:107-115.

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