Recruitment and effects of Discocotyle sagittata (Monogenea) infection on farmed trout

Miguel Rubio-Godoy*, Richard C. Tinsley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Farmed rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss and brown trout Salmo trutta were monitored over 3 years for infection with the blood-feeding gill fluke Discocotyle sagittata. Parasite transmission is seasonal: new infections take place during summer/autumn, and transmission is generally negligible during winter/spring. There are 2 sources of infection for naïve fish-of-the-year: limited invasion when fish are in the raceways by riverborne larvae originating external to the farm; and internally, within the farm, when 0+ fish are transferred to ponds previously occupied by older cohorts of infected fish. Thereafter, infection levels continue to increase in rainbow trout primarily through transmission within the farm. Prevalence rose to 100% in 1+ fish by the end of their second summer. In O. mykiss, mean abundance reached 194 worms/host for 1+ fish (up to 489 worms/host) and 160 worms/host for 2+ fish. By contrast, in S. trutta, parasite prevalence never exceeded 85% and, after the first year's invasions, infection levels decreased over time: in 1+ and 2+ brown trout, parasite mean abundance was < 4 (maximum 15) worms/host. We present evidence of the detrimental effects of D. sagittata on the host: high burdens are associated with pale gills, decreased body condition and host mortality. Parasite burdens become overdispersed during the warmer part of the year, as prevalence and mean abundance increase. However, the degree of parasite overdispersion decreases over winter; we cannot distinguish whether decreased aggregation is due to parasite losses from infected fish (including immune-mediated parasite mortality) or parasite-induced host mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2008


  • Discocotyle sagittata
  • Epidemiology
  • Monogenea
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss
  • Salmo trutta
  • Trout


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