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Vol.3 No.

4 Apr-June 2016 ISSN : 2321-6387

Pathomorphology of argulosis in fresh water carps in


Thanjavur region of Tamil Nadu

D. Basheer Ahamad, N. Punniamurthy, V. Senthil Kumar,


J. Selvaraj and S. Gomathinayagam
Veterinary University Training and Research Centre,
Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Thanjavur - 613 006, Tamil Nadu, India

Article Received on 17.03.2016 Article Published on 07.04.2016

Abstract Introduction
In a private fresh water pond Argulosis Argulosis is one of the
was recorded in one acre size, 4500 numbers of economically important parasitic disease
carps consisting of Catla (Catla catla), Rohu causing heavy mortality in Indian major
(Labeo rohita), Grass carps
carps (Rahman, 1968). It is caused by
(Ctenopharyngodon idella), Mrigal (Cirrhinus
members of the Branchiura belong to the
mriqala)) and Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)
genus Argulus, so called fish lice. Many of
were cultured. Clinically, 100% morbidity,
3.5% mortality, repeated rubbing of fins, the species are parasitic on marine fishes,
lethargic, anorexia, reduction in body weight, and about 15 spp. are found on freshwater
hyperactiveness and restlessness, open wound fishes (Bykhovskaya-Pavlovskaya et al.,
with or without haemorrhages on the surface of 1964). Heavy mortality due to Argulosis
the body, reduced pigmentation and drooping of has been reported to infect cultured fishes.
fins etc. were recorded. On external These parasites inhabits the skin, fins and
examination, a heavy infestation of parasitic gills of the host and cause extensive
load on body surfaces in all carps was observed pathological lesions in the skin, kidneys,
and characterised by a translucent parasite.
liver, gills (Dey, 1989). Azadirachtin was
Based on morphological characteristic feature,
used to eliminate Argulus and protect the
the parasite was identified as Argulus sp. Gross
host from ectoparasites but it is also
and histopathological changes were recorded
in skin, fins, lungs, liver, kidneys, heart. To reported to be a strong natural insecticide
control the ectoparasite, an alternate bath in (Schlu¨ter, 1987). Applications of
salt solution followed by formalin to treat the malathion, potassium permanganate is
affected fishes and to treat the tank with more helpful in the eradication of Argulus
Curcuma longa and Azadirachta indica species in fishes (Kumar et al., 1987). The
powder. However, the hygienic maintenance of present paper describes about
the tank by stocking fishes with optional density pathomorphology of argulosis in fresh
and periodical flushing of the organic waste water carps and ethnoveterinary herbal
from the bottom is recommended to control the
intervention at Thanjavur region.
incidence of the ectoparasitic infestation,
argulosis in fresh water carp farming.
Key words: Argulosis, Pathomorphology, Fresh
water fish
*Email: dbahamad@gmail.com

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Materials and methods weight, hyperactiveness and restlessness,


A private fresh water pond farmer nervous manifestation with easily detached
from Vaduvur, Thanjavur approached scales and abraded areas, 100% morbidity,
Veterinary University Training and 3.51% mortality were recorded. Among
Research centre and he had fish pond of carps, Rohu (Labeo rohita), Mrigal
one acre size, 4500 numbers of carps (Cirrhinus mriqala) were severely
consisting of Catla (Catla catla), Rohu affected.
(Labeo rohita), Grass carps External examination of Mrigal
(Ctenopharyngodon idella), Mrigal (Cirrhinus mriqala) and Rohu (Labeo
(Cirrhinus mriqala)) and Common carp rohita), revealed severe infestation of
(Cyprinus carpio) were cultured. He Argulus species external lice in all over the
reported that about 158 fishes died. The body with heavy infestation in head, body
disease outbreak in the farm was and tail. (Fig. 1 & 2). In Rohu, body showed
investigated in detail. The fishes in the severe infestation of lice and ulceration on
pond were observed keenly. The clinical the surface of the skin (Fig.3).
signs were recorded. The fishes in the pond
were taken and examined. Necropsy was
conducted. The external parasite was
collected. A piece of skin, liver, kidneys,
heart, skeletal muscle were collected in 10
% formalin and sent to central University
laboratory, TANUVAS, Chennai for
Fig. 1: Mirigal: Infestation of Argulus
further investigation. Based on necropsy, specie in head region of Mrigal fish
the farmer was adviced as follows. To
control the ectoparasite, it was
recommended to have an alternate bath in
5% salt solution followed by 1:5000
formalin to treat the affected fishes and to
treat the tank with 2% Curcuma longa and
1% Azadirachta indica powder. However,
Fig. 2: Heavy infestation of Argulus
the hygienic maintenance of the tank by species in body region of Mrigal fish
stocking fishes with optional density and
periodical flushing of the organic waste
from the bottom was recommended to
control the incidence of the ectoparasitic
infestation, in fresh water carp farming.

Results
Clinically, repeated rubbing of fins, Fig. 3: Rohu fish showed Argulus spp
lethargic, anorexia, reduction in body infestation and ulceration of skin

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Grossly, all the affected fishes and club cells in the epidermis, hyperplasia
showed open wound with or without of mucous secreting cells around the
haemorrhages on the surface of the body, wound margins with excess mucous
reduced pigmentation and drooping of fins exudate. Kidney showed diffuse
etc. The surface of the skin excess mucus moderated tubular degeneration and
secretion was observed. Eyes revealed necrosis. In the interstitial are diffuse mild
mild congestion. Liver, kidney, gills, heart to moderated reactive hyperplasia of
revealed diffuse mild to moderated pale erythropoitic and granulopoitic cells. Liver
(Fig.4). On thorough external examination, revealed diffuse severe sinusoidal
a heavy infestation of lice on body surfaces congestion, mulifocal mild vacuolation of
in all carps was observed and characterised hepatocytes (Fig.5) and multifocal mild
by a translucent parasite with dorso- necrosis of hepatocytes. Heart revealed
ventrally flattened body covered by a large diffuse mild degeneration of myofibril.
chitinous carapace. The body was divided Gill lamellae showed hypertrophy and
into cephalothorax, thorax and abdomen. hyperplasia in many areas resulting in the
This parasite had the large ventral suckers. fusion of secondary lamellae (Fig. 6).
Various other spines and hooked/clawed
appendages in the parasites attached on the
epidermis of the skin Based on
morphological characteristic feature, the
parasite was identified as Argulus sp.

Fig. 5: Liver revealed mild vacuolation


of hepatocytes H&E 400x

Fig. 4: Gills, liver and muscle revealed


pale discolouration

Histopathology
Skin revealed diffuse mild to
moderated ulceration with mild
haemorrhages, diffuse hyperplasia of the Fig. 6: Gills. Lamellae showed
epidermis at the margins of the wound, congestion and fusion of secondary
diffuse moderated epithelial degeneration, lamellae H&E 400x
diffuse severe oedema and multifocal mild To control the ectoparasite, it was
hyperplasia of dense connective tissue in recommended to have an alternate bath in
sub cutaneous areas, focal loss of mucous 5% salt solution followed by 1:5000
formalin to treat the affected fishes and to

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treat the tank with 2% Curcuma longa and erosions of the injured areas were
1% Azadirachta indica powder. All the observed on the skin and fin However,
treated fishes were transformed to fresh some infested fishes showed nervous
ponds. However, the hygienic maintenance manifestation with easily detached scales
of the tank by stocking fishes with optional and abraded areas. These finding could
density and periodical flushing of the possibley due to severe irritation caused by
organic waste from the bottom is Argulus species at the site of infestation.
recommended to control the incidence of Argulus species, an ectoparasite which
the ectoparasitic infestation, argulosis in feeds on blood and other bodily fluids and
fresh water carp farming. causes further harm to the fish by injecting
digestive enzymes that can lead to
Discussion Systemic. These results are in agreement
Heavy mortality due to Argulosis with the results that revealed by (Roberts,
or fish lice infestation has been reported in 2001; Eissa, 2002; Noga, 2010). The
Indian major carps. Several species of haematological examination of highly
Argulus have been reported to infect infested carps with Argulosis showed
cultured fishes. In the present study, anaemia with a significant reduction in
parasitic infestation could possibly due to total erythrocytic count, haemoglobin and
overdensity. In general about 1500 adult packed cell volume. The biochemical
fishes shall be reared in I acre pond under examination of the serum showed
hygienic condition. But, in the present hypoproteinaemia and hypoalbuminaemia
investigation, the farmer reared about 4500 when compared with normal healthy carps
fished which lead to unhygienic condition of corresponding species (unpublished
of the pond, competition for food, excess data).Gross and histopathological
excretion in the environment. Rohu has alterations of infested fish species with
been observed to be the most susceptible argulosis. Skeletal muscles showed edema
species among the Indian carps (Dey, and hyalinization affecting some skeletal
1989). Moreover, Rohu (Labeo rohita), bundles. However, degenerative and
Mrigal (Cirrhinus mriqala) affected much necrotic changes in the epithelial cell with
could possibly due to excess hyperplasia of fin filaments associated
contamination bottom soil and lack of with chronic inflammatory cells
oxygen reduce the body immunity. infiltration these results are in agreement
The clinical signs of natural with the results recorded by (AL-Darwesh
infested carps with argulosis were revealed et al., 2014). Argulus species cause a
the presence of erratic movements, reactive hyperplasia of the epithelium and
abnormal swimming, rubbing themselves increased mucus production. Hyperplasia
against the sides of the pond loss of fins appears as a cloundiness to the skin and
and anorexia. At the site of parasitic leads to hypoxia if occur on the gills. it
infestation , excess secretion of mucous will insert its needle-shaped mouth into the
exudate and haemorrhages causing tissue. This parasite causes patches of

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swollen and bleeding skin and can affect in experimentation include formaldehyde
the entire body, including fins and gills. It (Rydlo, 1989), potassium permanganate
feeds on blood and other bodily fluids, and (2-5 mg/l bath) (Oge, 2002), and formalin
causes further harm to the fish by injecting (Rezeka, 1998 ). Kumar et al., (1987 b)
digestive enzymes that can lead to reported weekly applications of malathion
systemic illness. The parasites pierce the @ 0.25 ppm for three consecutive doses.
host tissue with the pre-oral stylet, inject a They also reported that bath in potassium
cytolytic toxin, and feed on the blood permanganate @ 500 ppm/minute once a
released by the resultant wound. The week with the combination of malathion
surface of the host at the point of stylet treatment is more helpful in the eradication
entry can become erythemic and of Argulus species. In the present
hemorrhagic. A hemorrhagic factor is investigation, an alternate bath in 5% salt
produced by some species. Several solution followed by 1:5000 formalin to
parasites feeding in close proximity may treat the affected fishes and to treat the
cause edema and localized swelling of tank with 2% Curcuma longa and % of
tissues (Taylor et al., 2005) In all fish, Azadirachta indica powder which gave
mucous and club cells will be absent from 100% effectiveness in control of disease in
the epidermal tissue within the crater but fresh water fishes.
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