DAO 46:47-55 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/dao046047

Philasterides dicentrarchi (Ciliophora, Scuticociliatida) as the causative agent of scuticociliatosis in farmed turbot Scophthalmus maximus in Galicia (NW Spain)

R. Iglesias1, A. Paramá1, M. F. Alvarez1, J. Leiro1, J. Fernández2, M. L. Sanmartín1,*

1Laboratorio de Parasitología, Instituto de Investigación y Análisis Alimentarios, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 15706 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
2INSUIÑA, O Grove, Pontevedra, Spain
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: Two outbreaks of scuticociliatosis affecting farmed turbot Scophthalmus maximus in Galicia are described. Moribund fish showed cutaneous ulcers, darkened skin, swimming behaviour alterations, exophthalmos, and/or abdominal distension as a result of accumulation of ascitic fluid in the body cavity. Ciliates were detected in fresh mounts of practically all organs and tissues, including the blood and ascitic fluid. Histopathological studies revealed severe encephalitis and meningitis (associated with different degrees of softening or liquefaction of the brain), necrosis of the hepatic parenchyme, severe oedema of the intestinal wall, degeneration of muscle fibres, hyperplasia of the branchial epithelium, and/or vascular and perivascular inflammation. In some cases, parasites are surrounded by abundant monocytic and lymphocytic infiltrate. We report the morphological and biometric characteristics of this ciliate, which allow identification as Philasterides dicentrarchi. We discuss possible routes of entry into the host, and environmental factors possibly facilitating infection.

KEY WORDS: Philasterides dicentrarchi · Scuticociliatosis · Histophagous ciliates · Farmed turbot · Scophthalmus maximus

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