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Saprolegnia diclina Humphrey as a parasite of the solmonid, Oncorhynchus kisutch. McKay, Diana Louise


Studies of Saprolegnia infections of fish in British Columbia were made to determine disease causing agents and infection conditions. Saprolegnia diclina Humphrey was the most frequently observed parasite. This fungus reproduced sexually both on fish tissue and hemp seed cultures. No definite isolations of S. parasitica Coker were made although some non-sexually reproducing isolates of a Saprolegnia sp. were found. The validity of the species, S. parasitica, has been examined and questioned on the basis of present identification characteristics. Infection studies using S. diclina as the parasite and fingerling coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch) as the host indicated a distinct correlation between temperature and infection. At normal cool temperatures, e.g., 8° C, no infection occurred; at 9°C or above, some infection resulted. Above 9° C, the rate of infection increased as temperature increased. Temperature was also associated with the time at which infection occurred after inoculation. At 18°C, infection began earlier than at 13 C, Heat-shock treatment tended to reduce the temperature-time effect causing initial infection at 13°and at 18° C to occur almost simultaneously. Cold-shock treatment resulted in some infection. Such treatment, however, did not produce the same immediate infection as heat-shock. Histological studies demonstrated the infection to be concentrated in the host epidermis with fungal hyphae at sites of heaviest infection extending through the dermis and into underlying muscle tissues.

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