Skin lesions caused by the ectoparasite Dermophthirius penneri Benz, 1987 (Monogenea: Microbothriidae) on 2 wild-caught blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) from the northern Gulf of Mexico were studied using light and scanning electron microscopy. Grossly, lesions appeared as multifocal, well-demarcated, ovoid or irregularly shaped, light gray patches of skin. Scanning electron microscopy of lesions revealed gaps between placoid scales apparently created by detachment and loss of placoid scales, rotated and tilted placoid scales with blunt distal tips and shallow ridges, and a frayed epithelium that covered some placoid scales and filled some spaces between placoid scales. Light microscopy of lesions revealed epithelial hyperplasia accompanied by dermal infiltrates of moderate numbers of loosely arranged lymphocytes interposed between collagen bundles in the superficial layers of the stratum compactum. This report provides the first details of microbothriid skin lesions on wild sharks. Our results indicate that D. penneri caused chronic skin lesions not associated with bacterial infection or severe, debilitating, skin disease in the studied sharks.
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