Skip to main content Accesibility Help

Unpredicted transmission strategy of Gyrodactylus salaris (Monogenea: Gyrodactylidae): survival and infectivity of parasites on dead hosts

  • K. OLSTAD (a1), J. CABLE (a2), G. ROBERTSEN (a1) and T. A. BAKKE (a1)

The viviparous monogenean Gyrodactylus salaris continues to devastate Norwegian Atlantic salmon populations despite the extreme measures taken to control this pathogen. Increased understanding of parasite biology is needed to develop alternative control and management strategies of wild Atlantic salmon. We have examined temperature-dependent survival of G. salaris, both on and off the host. At 18 °C, survival off the host was 1 day, but at 3 °C parasites survived for 4 days. However, in contrast to assumptions made by earlier authors, many parasites remained with their host following its death. Ultrastructural evidence indicated that G. salaris individuals can feed on a dead host, and laboratory tests demonstrated that worms on their hosts more than double their life-span compared with individuals maintained off the host. Experimental infections also demonstrated that establishment and subsequent population growth of parasites previously maintained on dead hosts for 3 days, was similar to that of parasites transferred directly between living hosts. Hence, for G. salaris, dead infected hosts may increase the chances of successful transmission and be a potential important infection source in rivers and hatcheries.

Corresponding author
Natural History Museum, Department of Zoology, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1172, N-0318 Oslo, Norway. Tel: +47 22 85 18 23. Fax: +47 22 85 18 37. E-mail address:
Hide All


Bakke, T. A., Jansen, P. A. and Hansen, L. P. ( 1991). Experimental transmission of Gyrodactylus salaris Malmberg, 1957 (Platyhelminthes; Monogenea) from the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) to the European eel (Anguilla anguilla). Canadian Journal of Zoology – Revue Canadienne De Zoologie 69, 733737.
Bakke, T. A., Harris, P. D. and Cable, J. ( 2002). Host specificity dynamics: observations on gyrodactylid monogeneans. International Journal for Parasitology 32, 281308. DOI:10.1016/S0020-7519(01)00331-9.
Bakke, T. A., Harris, P. D., Jansen, P. A. and Hansen, L. P. ( 1992). Host specificity and dispersal strategy in gyrodactylid monogeneans, with particular reference to Gyrodactylus salaris (Platyhelminthes; Monogenea). Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 13, 6374. DOI:10.1016/S0020-7519(01)00331-9.
Buchmann, K. ( 1998). Binding and lethal effect of complement from Oncorhynchus mykiss on Gyrodactylus derjavini (Platyhelminthes: Monogenea). Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 32, 195200.
Buchmann, K., Madsen, K. K. and Dalgaard, M. B. ( 2004). Homing of Gyrodactylus salaris and G. derjavini (Monogenea) on different hosts and related species from salmonids. Folia Parasitologica 51, 263267.
Cable, J. and Harris, P. D. ( 2002). Gyrodactylid developmental biology: historical review, current status and future trends. International Journal for Parasitology 32, 255280. DOI:10.1016/S0020-7519(01)00330-7.
Cable, J., Scott, E. C. G., Tinsley, R. C. and Harris, P. D. ( 2002 a). Behavior favoring transmission in the viviparous monogenean Gyrodactylus turnbulli. Journal of Parasitology 88, 183184.
Cable, J., Tinsley, R. C. and Harris, P. D. ( 2002 b). Survival, feeding and embryo development of Gyrodactylus gasterostei (Monogenea: Gyrodactylidae). Parasitology 124, 5368. DOI:10.1017/S0031182001008861.
Hammer, Ø., Harper, D. A. T. and Ryan, P. D. ( 2001). PAST: paleontological statistics software package for education and data analysis. Palaeontologia Electronica 4, 19.
Hansen, H., Bachmann, L. and Bakke, T. A. ( 2003). Mitochondrial DNA variation of Gyrodactylus spp. (Monogenea, Gyrodactylidae) populations infecting Atlantic salmon, grayling, and rainbow trout in Norway and Sweden. International Journal for Parasitology 33, 14711478. DOI:10.1016/S0020-7519(03)00200-5.
Harris, P. D. ( 1980). The behaviour of Gyrodactylus on living hosts. In Proceedings of the Third European Multicolloqium of Parasitology, Cambridge, England, 7–13 September 1980, p. 97.
Harris, P. D. ( 1986). Species of Gyrodactylus von Nordmann, 1832 (Monogenea: Gyrodactylidae) from poeciliid fishes, with a description of G. turnbulli sp. nov. from the guppy, Poecilia reticulata Peters. Journal of Natural History 20, 183191.
Harris, P. D., Jansen, P. A. and Bakke, T. A. ( 1994). The population age structure and reproductive biology of Gyrodactylus salaris Malmberg (Monogenea). Parasitology 108, 167173.
Harris, P. D., Soleng, A. and Bakke, T. A. ( 1998). Killing of Gyrodactylus salaris (Platyhelminthes, Monogenea) mediated by host complement. Parasitology 117, 137143. DOI:10.1017/S003118209800287X.
Jensen, A. J. and Johnsen, B. O. ( 1992). Site specificity of Gyrodactylus salaris Malmberg, 1957 (Monogenea) on Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L) in the river Lakselva, Northern Norway. Canadian Journal of Zoology – Revue Canadienne De Zoologie 70, 264267.
Johnsen, B. O., Møkkelgjerd, P. I. and Jensen, A. J. ( 1999). The parasite Gyrodactylus salaris on salmon parr in Norwegian rivers, status report at the beginning of year 2000. NINA Oppdragsmelding 617, 1129.
Keenleyside, M. H. A. and Yamamoto, F. T. ( 1962). Territorial behaviour of juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.). Behaviour 19, 139169.
Kennedy, C. R. ( 1994). The ecology of introductions. In Parasitic Diseases of Fish ( ed. Pike, A. W. and Lewis, J. W.), pp. 189208. Samara Publishing Ltd, UK.
Malmberg, G. ( 1970). The excretory systems and the marginal hooks as a basis for the systematics of Gyrodactylus (Trematoda, Monogenea). Arkiv für Zoologie 23, 1235.
Mo, T. A. ( 1988). Virksomheten i 1987 og program for virksomheten i 1988. Gyrodactylus undersøkelsene ved Zoologisk Museum, Universitetet i Oslo 4, 129.
Mo, T. A. ( 1992). Seasonal variations in the prevalence and infestation intensity of Gyrodactylus salaris Malmberg, 1957 (Monogenea, Gyrodactylidae) on Atlantic salmon parr, Salmo salar L, in the River Batnfjordselva, Norway. Journal of Fish Biology 41, 697707.
Mo, T. A. ( 1997). Seasonal occurrence of Gyrodactylus derjavini (Monogenea) on brown trout, Salmo trutta, and Atlantic salmon, S. salar, in the Sandvikselva River, Norway. Journal of Parasitology 83, 10251029.
Peeler, E. J., Gardiner, R. and Thrush, M. A. ( 2004). Qualitative risk assessment of routes of transmission of the exotic fish parasite Gyrodactylus salaris between river catchments in England and Wales. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 64, 175189. DOI:10.1016/j.prevetmed.2004.05.005.
Scott, M. E. ( 1985 a). Experimental epidemiology of Gyrodactylus bullatarudis (Monogenea) on guppies (Poecilia reticulata): short- and long-term studies. In Ecology and Genetics of Host-Parasite Interactions ( ed. Rollinson, D. and Anderson, R.M.), pp. 2138, Symposium series, Linnean Society of London. London Academic Press.
Scott, M. E. ( 1985 b). Dynamics of challenge infection of Gyrodactylus bullatarudis Turnbull (Monogenea) on guppies, Poecilia reticulata (Peters). Journal of Fish Diseases 8, 495503.
Scott, M. E. and Anderson, R. M. ( 1984). The population-dynamics of Gyrodactylus bullatarudis (Monogenea) within laboratory populations of the fish host Poecilia reticulata. Parasitology 89, 159194.
Soleng, A. and Bakke, T. A. ( 1997). Salinity tolerance of Gyrodactylus salaris (Platyhelminthes, Monogenea): laboratory studies. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 54, 18371845.
Soleng, A., Jansen, P. A. and Bakke, T. A. ( 1999). Transmission of the monogenean Gyrodactylus salaris. Folia Parasitologica 46, 179184.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed