Studies on the biology, host-parasite interactions and distribution of Lernaea spp. in West Malaysia
Lernaea spp. was identified as a widespread problem in West Malaysia and various aspects of the parasite were studied. A survey of the distribution of Lernaea spp. in West Malaysia revealed its presence in all the 8 government owned fish breeding stations, 104 privately owned farms and 4 out of 5 consignments of imported fingerlings. The Lernaea spp. present in these ponds were identified as L. piscinae and L. cyprinacea "Asian" form (=b.elegans) and its morpha forms, L. ctenopharyngodonis and L.guadrinucifera. The life cycles of L. cyprinacea and L. piscinae were determined under laboratory conditions. Infection of ~. auratus with the offspring of L. cyprinacea "Asian" form produced adult females similar to the maternal form and another form identified as b. ctenopharyngodonis. A. nobilis, infected with L. cyprinacea "Asian" form and L. piscinae produced only species identical to the maternal form. A high degree of polymorphism was revealed and was further investigated. Morphometric studies on the larval stages and adult female parasites were investigated and reliable characteristics for the identification of Lernaea is discussed. The distribution frequency of b. cyprinacea on 3 host species and L. piscinae on A. nobilis in aquarium tanks was goodness of tested for/fit with the theoretical negative binomial distribution. The bases of fins were found to be the preferred site of infection for both species. studies on growth performance of A. nobilis infected with L. piscinae in ponds, revealed a significant reduction in Specific Growth Rates. Infected fish had a higher mortality than uninfected fish. A decrease in parasite infection on the body surface after 3 months was associated with its appearance in the eye. A challenge infection did not establish and the fish were suspected of being immune. Histopathological studies showed a typical inflammatory response with the formation of a granuloma. Eosinophilic granular cells, lymphocytes, and club cells which were identified in the hosts immune to the infection, were believed to play an important role in the rejection of parasites.