Gyrodactylus salaris infecting allopatric Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus fry: an experimental study of host survival
Artificially reared Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus fry (post yolk-sac stage) from Skibotnelva in northern Norway were exposed to infection with the monogenean ectoparasite Gyrodactylus salaris to determine if the parasite caused mortality in fry. About 95% of the fry became infected within the first week post-exposure, and at the end of the experiment (77 days) all fry carried the parasite. Mortality rate was significantly higher in the groups of infected fry than in the uninfected control groups, and when the experiment was terminated c. 30% of the infected and 8% of the uninfected fish had died. Gyrodactylus salaris had a pronounced negative effect upon fry survival and caused an additive host mortality. Moreover, the concurrent temporal changes in parasite intensities and aggregation indicated that the parasite-induced host mortality was density dependent.
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