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The gill monogenean Sciadicleithrum variabilum induces histomorphological alterations in the gill tissues of the discus Symphysodon aequifasciatus



High mortality is among the most serious problems and challenges in the ornamental fish trade.

Examination of the discus Symphysodon aequifasciatus from ornamental fish hatchery revealed infestation with the monogenean Sciadicleithrum variabilum. Gill infestation with this monogenean induced serious damage to the gill lamellae, including clavate lamellae, vascular congestion in the peripheral blood vessels, lamellar blood sinus dilation, and other structural anomalies.

Light and transmission electron microscopy showed that in all infested hosts the interlamellar cell mass (ILCM) completely filled the interlamellar space. The monogenean-associated damage combined with the ILCM led to severe impairment of respiratory efficiency of the gill.

Anti-parasitic treatment was applied during breeding (hatchery), which was followed by almost complete regression of the ILCM seen in the fish. A single point of ILCM hyperplasia was observed in only one specimen at the site of parasite attachment to the gill filament. The ILCM covering the gill lamellae protected the discus against infestation with this monogenean, but considerable reduction in the gaseous exchange surface and serious damage to the gill lamellae contributed to the increased mortality of the fish in the hatchery, which reached 90%.


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