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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 78:161-168 (2007)  -  DOI:

Chemoreception in the salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis: an electrophysiology approach

D. M. Fields1,2,*, M. J. Weissburg3, H. I. Browman2

1Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, PO Box 475, West Booth Bay Harbor, Maine 04575, USA
2Institute of Marine Research, Austevoll Research Station, 5392 Storebø, Norway
3Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

ABSTRACT: The search for effective and long-term solutions to the problems caused by salmon lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer, 1837) has increasingly included biological/ecological mechanisms to combat infestation. One aspect of this work focuses on the host-associated stimuli that parasites use to locate and discriminate a compatible host. In this study we used electrophysiological recordings made directly from the antennule of adult lice to investigate the chemosensitivity of L salmonis to putative chemical attractants from fish flesh, prepared by soaking whole fish tissue in seawater. There was a clear physiological response to whole fish extract (WFX) with threshold sensitivity at a dilution of 10–4. When WFX was size fractionated, L. salmonis showed the greatest responses to the water-soluble fractions containing compounds between 1 and 10 kDa. The results suggest that the low molecular weight, water-soluble compounds found in salmon flesh may be important in salmon lice host choice.

KEY WORDS: Lepeophtheirus salmonis · Electrophysiology · Olfaction · Host finding

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Cite this article as: Fields DM, Weissburg MJ, Browman HI (2007) Chemoreception in the salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis: an electrophysiology approach. Dis Aquat Org 78:161-168.

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