2011 Volume 46 Issue 3 Pages 71-79
The potential of parasite transfer to an alternative host during short periods of cohabitation was explored. The work described in this paper suggests that either the field sampling process itself or the subsequent transportation of multiple fish species in the same container, may affect the correct allocation of parasites to hosts, and the diagnosis, management and control of gyrodactylosis in a variety of fish. Gyrodactylus infected specimens of three-spine sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus, minnows Phoxinus phoxinus and stone loach Barbatula barbatula from one Scottish river were cohabited with one another in small volumes of water for 3 h. The study found that a small number of Gyrodactylus spp. transfer to atypical hosts. This study indicates that personnel involved in fish disease surveillance programmes should be aware of the possible consequences, in terms of inter-host transfer, of transporting multiple species in the same transport vessel. Diagnosticians should be aware of the facts that fish may act as temporary/paratenic hosts and that the apparent gyrodactylid fauna present following transport may not reflect that encountered under normal circumstances.