Fry of brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill), were infected under controlled conditions with Gyrodactylus salmonis (Yin and Sproston, 1948) and the course of infection followed for 22 days in four groups of 40 fish and for 60 days in a group of 200 fish. Between 15 and 44% mortality occurred among infected groups compared with less than 5% in noninfected control groups. Intensely infected moribund fish were cachexic, lethargic, and often darkened in color. Histologic studies revealed that intensely infected fish had a thinner epidermis with fewer goblet cells than control fish. Internally the only obvious lesions involved the kidney where there was extensive tubular degeneration and necrosis. It is hypothesized that attachment and grazing activity by G. salmonis can lead directly to death of fry through disruption of the osmotic permeability of the epidermis. There was no evidence of secondary invasion by bacteria or fungi.
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