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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03559

    Massive infection of Cystidicoloides ephemeridarum discovered during a toxicological survey on an unusual case of skeletal deformities in brown trout Salmo trutta

    C. Iaria, N. Spanò, A. Smeriglio, F. Capparucci, G. De Benedetto, G. Lanteri*, F. Marino, S. Macheda, F. Macrì, A. Belvedere, M. D’Agostino, F. Caridi, S. Marguccio, A. Salvo, G. Acri, A. Siclari, M. V. Brundo, D. Trombetta

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the cause of skeletal deformities found in brown trout from the Aspromonte mountain area (Reggio Calabria, Italy). Toxicological, histopathological and parasitological analyses were carried out on 14 specimens with evident macro-morphological alterations, coming from 2 different sampling points in the same river, and 4 control specimens, without morphological alterations, from a third sampling point in a different river, far from the previous one, but still within the area under study. Histopathological and radiological observations confirmed severe skeletal deformities in the specimens investigated. Parasitological examinations highlighted the presence of the nematode Cystidicoloides ephemeridarum, only within the gastrointestinal tract of specimens showing deformities. Moreover, a direct correlation between parasite number and specimen size was found. Given the low heavy metal levels and the presence of a massive parasitosis in teleosts showing deformities, we postulated a correlation between skeletal deformities and nematode infestation as the cause of a serious vitamin and mineral deficiency, which led to a dysplastic vertebral column. The low calcium levels found in malformed specimens compared with negative controls effectively confirm this hypothesis.