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Host-Parasite Interaction between Parasitic Cymothoid Ceratothoa oestroides and Its Host, Farmed European Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)

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Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, 21000 Split, Croatia
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Faculty of Science, University of Split, 21000 Split, Croatia
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Cromaris doo, 23000 Zadar, Croatia
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Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Heraklion, 712 01 Crete, Greece
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Section of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030230
Received: 25 February 2020 / Revised: 17 March 2020 / Accepted: 18 March 2020 / Published: 20 March 2020
Parasitic isopod Ceratothoa oestroides (Cymothoidea, Isopoda) is a common and generalist buccal cavity-dweller in marine fish, recognised for its detrimental effect in fingerling and juvenile farmed European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). Although distributed throughout the Mediterranean, the isopod provokes acute outbreaks mainly limited to particular endemic areas in Croatia (Adriatic Sea) and Greece (Aegean Sea). While numerous studies have previously evidenced its gross effect on farmed fish (i.e. decreased condition index, slower growth rate, lethargy and mortality), details on the host-parasite interaction are still lacking. Therefore, using a multimethodological approach, we closely examined the structure and appearance of isopod body parts acting in the attachment and feeding (stereomicroscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy), and the extent of host tissues damage (histology, immunohistochemistry, micro-computational tomography) induced by parasitation. Interestingly, while hematophagous nature of the parasite has been previously postulated we found no unambiguous data to support this; we observed host tissues fragmentation and extensive hyperplasia at the parasitation site, and no structures indicative of heme detoxifying mechanisms in the parasite gut, or other traces of a blood meal. The bacterial biofilm covering C. oestroides mouthparts and pereopods suggests that the isopod may play a role in conveying secondary pathogens to the infected host, or alternatively, it serves the parasite in normal interaction with its environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: attachment; Ceratothoa oestroides; European sea bass; feeding; host-parasite interaction attachment; Ceratothoa oestroides; European sea bass; feeding; host-parasite interaction
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Mladineo, I.; Hrabar, J.; Vidjak, O.; Bočina, I.; Čolak, S.; Katharios, P.; Cascarano, M.C.; Keklikoglou, K.; Volpatti, D.; Beraldo, P. Host-Parasite Interaction between Parasitic Cymothoid Ceratothoa oestroides and Its Host, Farmed European Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). Pathogens 2020, 9, 230.

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