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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03689

    Limited accrual of myxospores of Kudoa inornata (Cnidaria: Myxosporea) in their wild fish hosts, Cynoscion nebulosus (Teleostei: Sciaenidae)

    Augustus M. Snyder, Eric J. McElroy, John F. Smith, John Archambault, Isaure de Buron*

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Kudoa inornata is a myxosporean that infects the seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. An increased prevalence of infection as fish age and absence of inflammation against plasmodia led to the hypothesis that seatrout retain and accumulate myxospores throughout their life. However, opportunistic observations that wild-caught seatrout cleared infection when maintained in aquaculture conditions and evidence of encapsulated infected necrotic myofibers suggested that fish develop an immunity against this parasite, or myxospores have a limited life span. To evaluate myxospore clearance and to test putative resistance to re-infection, we examined 44 wild-caught seatrout broodstock maintained in parasite-free water for 2–6 yr. Twenty-five fish served as negative controls (time zero of experiment), and 19 were exposed to water-borne K. inornata infective stages for 18 wk. Over 73% of the exposed fish became infected compared to ~12% control fish, indicating that fish were susceptible to re-infection by K. inornata. Whether plasmodia degenerate because K. inornata myxopores have a limited lifespan or seatrout develop an adaptive immunity against these life stages remains unknown. To test for accumulation of myxospores over time, we compared myxospore densities and intensities between sexes and across ages and sizes of wild seatrout. There was no significant difference in myxospore densities with size, age or sex. However, intensities increased significantly with increasing fish age and size, indicating accrual of myxospores over time. These results combined with evidence of infection clearance suggests that K. inornata myxospores do not persist but nevertheless accrue in wild seatrout due to continuous contact with infective stages.