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While this lab primarily investigates invertebrate diseases, vertebrate diseases are also studied. The purposes of investigating vertebrate diseases includes understanding of abnormal large scale die-offs, routine maintenance, and sickness in aquaculture settings.

Ichthyophonus sp.

Common name: Ichthyophonus
Scientific name: Ichthyophonus sp.
Host Species: Freshwater and marine fishes (of interest - yellowtail flounder)
Salinity and Temperature range: This parasite has a broad host and geographic range
Diagnosis: Grossly, white, oval to round lesions in blood-rich organs, especially the heart or liver, are present in infected fish. Histolgically granulomas containing oval to round organism are present in granulomas in the tissues.1, 2
Treatment: There is currently no way to cure this disease once prevalent in a population. Disease prevalence often increases with host size and age.1 Preventative methods to avoid any or further infection should be used.


Nematode, Sulcascaris sulcata

Common name: Nematode
Scientific name (suggested): Sulcascaris sulcata
Host Species: Loggerhead Turtles, bivalve mollusks
Salinity and Temperature range: The nematode appears to proliferate better at lower latitudes.2
Lifecycle: The parasite has two hosts, the definitive host being marine turtles, while scallops or other mollusks tend to be the intermediate host.1 Adult nematodes attach to esophagus of the loggerhead turtle. Eggs are released via the feces then filtered by mollusks where they go through their lava stages.2
Diagnosis: Lesions visible to the naked eye can be seen on the exterior if the adductor muscle.  Fecal floats are used to diagnose parasite using the egg life cycle stage.1
Treatment: N/A


A lesion on the side of a Bluefish
A lesion on the side of a Bluefish

Menhaden with anchor worms far view Close up anchor worms hooked onto a Menhaden
Picture 1: Menhaden with anchor worms far view. Piture 2: Close up anchor worms hooked onto a Menhaden