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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 70:1-36 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/dao070001

Guide to the identification of fish protozoan and metazoan parasites in stained tissue sections

D. W. Bruno1,*, B. Nowak2, D. G. Elliott3

1FRS Marine Laboratory, PO Box 101, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, UK
2School of Aquaculture, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, CRC Aquafin, University of Tasmania, Locked Bag 1370, Launceston, Tasmania 7250, Australia
3Western Fisheries Research Center, US Geological Survey/Biological Resources Discipline, 6505 N.E. 65th Street, Seattle, Washington 98115, USA

ABSTRACT: The identification of protozoan and metazoan parasites is traditionally carried out using a series of classical keys based upon the morphology of the whole organism. However, in stained tissue sections prepared for light microscopy, taxonomic features will be missing, thus making parasite identification difficult. This work highlights the characteristic features of representative parasites in tissue sections to aid identification. The parasite examples discussed are derived from species affecting finfish, and predominantly include parasites associated with disease or those commonly observed as incidental findings in disease diagnostic cases. Emphasis is on protozoan and small metazoan parasites (such as Myxosporidia) because these are the organisms most likely to be missed or mis-diagnosed during gross examination. Figures are presented in colour to assist biologists and veterinarians who are required to assess host/parasite interactions by light microscopy.

KEY WORDS: Identification · Light microscopy · Metazoa · Protozoa · Staining · Tissue sections

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