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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 55:31-35 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/dao055031

Evaluation of a vector-control strategy of haemorrhagic thelohanellosis in carp, caused by Thelohanellus hovorkai (Myxozoa)

Yasoja S. Liyanage, Hiroshi Yokoyama*, Hisatsugu Wakabayashi

Department of Aquatic Bioscience, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The life cycle of Thelohanellus hovorkai (Myxozoa), the causative agent of haemorrhagic thelohanellosis of carp Cyprinus carpio, involves the alternate oligochaete host Branchiura sowerbyi, which plays the role of vector in the parasite¹s transmission. Field investigations in carp farms suggested that oligochaete fauna were closely associated with the substrate type of the pond. The pond bottom in the enzootic farm consisted of clay soil and soft sediments comprised of organic mud, in which B. sowerbyi dominated in high densities, with a maximum of 5.6 ind. kg-1 soil. In another case, in a carp farm with no previous history of the disease, the pond bottom was sandy soil, in which small-sized oligochaetes, composed mainly of Limnodrilus socialis, dominated. Laboratory studies on the substrate preference of oligochaetes proved that B. sowerbyi prefers mud to sand, whereas L. socialis has no tendency to substrate tropism. The delicate body surface of B. sowerbyi was subject to damage by rugged-edged sand particles, which inflicted severe injuries to the worms. Transmission experiments showed that L. socialis, which are non-susceptible to T. hovorkai, suppressed the production of T. hovorkai actinospores in B. sowerbyi in a mixed assemblage of oligochaetes. Field and experimental evidence in this study imply that substrate replacement in culture ponds might regulate the benthic oligochaete communities, resulting in minimization of the impact of haemorrhagic thelohanellosis. We propose that ecological control of oligochaete fauna by environmental management is a promising strategy against myxozoan diseases.

KEY WORDS: Thelohanellus hovorkai · Common carp · Cyprinus carpio · Branchiura sowerbyi · Vector control · Myxosporean · Actinosporean

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