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Anadromous coastal cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii as a host for Argulus pugettensis (Crustacea, Branchiura): Parasite prevalence, intensity and distribution

November 20, 2020

Coastal cutthroat trout [Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii (Richardson, 1836)] from the marine waters of Puget Sound, WA, was documented as a new host for the ectoparasite Argulus pugettensis (Dana, 1852). The prevalence of A. pugettensis was 66% (49 of 74) on cutthroat trout and 0% (0 of 55) on coho salmon [O. kisutch (Walbaum, 1792)] collected during the winter of 2017/2018. Infestations occurred most frequently on the dorsal surface, with intensities ranging from 1 to 26 argulids per fish (mean intensity 3.94 ± 4.93 S.D.). In contrast, the prevalence of the common salmon louse [Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer, 1837)] was 72% for cutthroat trout and 31% for coho salmon. Relative to other native salmonids, little is known regarding the status, ecology and threats for coastal cutthroat trout. New information reported here is a first step in understanding the relationship between this wild, native trout and infestations by parasitic sea lice and should be followed by future studies aimed to identify population level consequences.