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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    High occurrence rate of xanthomatosis and nephrocalcinosis in aquarium-housed Atlantic wolffish Anarhichas lupus and spotted wolffish A. minor

    Karine Béland, Emiko Wong, Jean-François St-Cyr, Stéphane Lair*

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: The Atlantic wolffish (AW) and the spotted wolffish (SW) are long-lived fish found in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and are respectively classified as special concern and threatened species, mainly due to fisheries bycatch. To better understand health issues associated with the care of these species in public aquariums, reports from all necropsies performed in two zoological institutions between 2009 and 2019 were reviewed (31 AW and 8 SW). These wolffish were fed with a similar fish-based diet and kept in multi-species exhibits with comparable environmental parameters. The most frequent necropsy findings were the presence of xanthomas (AW: 41.9%; SW: 75.0%), nephrocalcinosis (AW: 42.9%; SW: 75.0%) and urocystoliths (AW: 6.5%; SW: 62.5%). Xanthomas were mostly located at the base of pectoral fins and were characterized by extensive granulomatous inflammation centered on accumulations of partly mineralized degenerate fatty material, mainly composed of cholesterol crystals. Nephrocalcinosis was characterized by the deposition of calcium salts within the renal tubules and was commonly associated with tubular necrosis. The aquarium-housed wolffish were fed a cold water fish-based diet. However, the natural diet of wolffish is composed mostly of invertebrates such as urchins and crustaceans. Differences in nutrient composition between these diets, such as lipid and mineral content, may have contributed to the development of xanthomatosis, nephrocalcinosis, and urocystolithiasis in wolffish housed in these institutions.