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Mixed infection of Argulus japonicus and Argulus siamensis (Branchiura, Argulidae) in carps (Pisces, Cyprinidae): loss estimation and a comparative invasive pattern study

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The genus Argulus is economically one of the most important taxa of crustacean ectoparasites in freshwater aquaculture systems throughout the world. This study investigates the occurrence and effect of a mixed infestation of two species of Argulus, Argulus japonicus Thiele, 1900 and Argulus siamensis Wilson, 1926, in a carp culture farm in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, India. In this study the economic loss due to argulosis was estimated to be 67 102.00 INR (US$ 1428)/ha per year, taking into account factors like mortality, reduced growth rate, and costs associated with drug application. The parasite population of the farm under study was dominated by A. japonicus, which constituted 93.5% of the population, the rest being A. siamensis. The dominance of A. japonicus can be explained by a comparison of the invasiveness of both species through determination of their off-host survival period, fecundity, and infestation pattern. A. japonicus was found to be better adapted to resist starvation, as the maximum off-host survival period for A. japonicus was 6 days, compared to 4 days in A. siamensis at 28°C. The average clutch size of A. japonicus was experimentally found to be 187 eggs, versus 120 for A. siamensis. An experimental mixed infestation of both species was established on Labeo rohita (Hamilton, 1822) to assess their infestation patterns, which proved A. japonicus to be more virulent than A. siamensis. The wide distribution of A. japonicus in comparison to A. siamensis may thus be attributed to its relatively prolonged off-host survival period, higher fecundity, and stronger virulence.

Affiliations: 1: 1Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, Kausalyaganga, Bhubaneswar 751 002, India; 2: 2Regional Research Station of CIFA, Hessarghatta, Bangalore 560 089, India


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