SREL Reprint #0498

 

 

 

Thermal Effluent and the Epizootiology of the Ciliate Epistylis and the Bacterium Aeromonas in Association with Centrarchid Fish

Gerald W. Esch, Terry C. Hazen, Ronald V. Dimock, Jr., and J. Whitfield Gibbons

 

Abstract

Esch, G. W., Hazen, T. C., Dimock, R. V., Jr. & Gibbons, J. W. 1976.  Thermal effluent and the epizootiology of the ciliate Epistylis and the bacterium Aeromonas in association with centrarchid fish.  Trans. Amer. Micros. Soc., 95:  687-693.  Epistylis sp. (Ciliophora:  Peritricha) is a facultative ectosymbient of fresh-water fishes in streams and lakes throughout the southeastern U.S.  In combination with the gram-negative bacteria Aeromonas hydrophila, epizootic outbreaks of Epistylis have been implicated in the death of many thousands of game fish, primarily striped bass and several species of Centrarchidae (sunfish), in several reservoirs in North Carolina.  While these epizootics have been correlated with high levels of organic loading, recent studies suggest that thermal loading from a nuclear production facility may influence the level of infection by A. hydrophila and Epistylis sp. (A-E complex) on centrarchid sunfish in Par Pond, Savannah River Plant, Aiken, S.C.  Utilizing electro-fishing techniques, in excess of 11,500 sunfish, representing six different species, were collected and examined for external lesions associated with the A-E complex.  Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) were most heavily infected, followed in incidence of infection by bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) warmouth (Lepomis gulosus) and redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus); lesions were not observed on the surface of black crappie (Pmoxis nigromaculatus).  The body conditions (or K-factor) of more than 2,000 largemouth bass were calculated; direct correlations were found between thermal loading, body condition, and incidence of infection.  These data are discussed in terms of thermal effluent and the epizootiology of Epistylis sp. and Aeromonas hydrophila.

 

SREL Reprint #0498

Esch, G.W., T.C. Hazen, R.V. Dimock Jr., and J.W. Gibbons. 1976. Thermal effluent and the epizootiology of the ciliate Epistylis and the bacterium Aeromonas in association with centrarchid fish. Transactions of the American Microscopical Society 95:687-693.

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