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The effect of various metals on Gyrodactylus salaris (Platyhelminthes, Monogenea) infections in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

  • A. B. S. POLÉO (a1), J. SCHJOLDEN (a1) (a2), H. HANSEN (a3), T. A. BAKKE (a3), T. A. MO (a4), B. O. ROSSELAND (a5) and E. LYDERSEN (a5)...

Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) parr (age 0+), infected by the ectoparasite Gyrodactylus salaris, were exposed to aqueous aluminium (Al), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn), at 4 different concentrations. There was a negative correlation between G. salaris infections and metal concentrations in both Zn- and Al-exposed salmon. In the Zn-experiment, all 4 concentrations tested caused a decrease in the G. salaris infections, while in the Al-experiment the G. salaris infection did not decline at the lowest concentration. The number of G. salaris increased continuously during the experiments in all control groups, and in all groups exposed to Cu, Fe and Mn. At the highest concentration, however, copper seemed to impair the growth of G. salaris infection. The results show that aqueous Al and Zn are environmental factors of importance controlling the distribution and abundance of the pathogen G. salaris. Other pollutants might also have an influence on the occurrence of G. salaris. Finally, the results demonstrate that aqueous Al and Zn have a stronger effect on the parasite than on the salmonid host, suggesting that both metals may be used as a pesticide to control ectoparasites such as G. salaris.

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Department of Biology, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066, Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway. Tel: +47 22 85 5785. Fax: +47 22 85 4664. E-mail:
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