Monogenean parasites infect ornamental fish imported to Australia
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The ornamental fish trade provides a pathway for the global translocation of aquatic parasites. We examined a total of 1020 fish imported from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, or Sri Lanka to Australia (including freshwater and marine fish species) for monogenean ectoparasites. Fish were received following veterinary certification that they showed no clinical signs of pests and diseases from the exporting country and visual inspection at Australian border control. Australian import conditions require mandatory treatment for goldfish with parasiticides (e.g. trichlorfon, formaldehyde, sodium chloride) for the presence of gill flukes (Dactylogyrus vastator Nybelin, 1924 and Dactylogyrus extensus Mueller and Van Cleave, 1932) prior to export. Over 950 individual parasites were detected in five imported fish species, representing 14 monogenean species. Seven Dactylogyrus spp. including D. vastator and three Gyrodactylus spp. infected goldfish, Carassius auratus Linnaeus, 1758, from Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Dactylogyrus ostraviensis Řehulka, 1988, infected rosy barb, Pethia conchonius Hamilton, 1822, from Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand while two Trianchoratus spp. infected three spot gourami, Trichopodus trichopterus Pallas, 1970 and pearl gourami Trichopodus leerii Bleeker, 1852, from Sri Lanka. Urocleidoides reticulatus Mizelle & Price, 1964, infected guppy, Poecilia reticulata Peters, 1859, from Sri Lanka. The discovery of D. vastator in goldfish, as well as 13 other monogenean species, shows that pre-export health requirements, which include chemical treatment of goldfish, and inspection of all ornamental fish species did not prevent infection by monogeneans. Inspection prior to exportation and at border control must account for the highly cryptic nature of monogenean parasites and consider alternatives to current pre-export conditions and visual inspection at border control.
KeywordsOrnamental fish trade Biosecurity Border control Gyrodactylus Dactylogyrus Goldfish
We thank Terrence Miller, Paul Hick, Alison Tweedie, and Joshua Allas for their assistance during sampling events and Roger Huerlemann, Diana Pazmino-Jaramillo, Diego A. Ortiz, and Jan Strugnell for their assistance and comments on molecular and phylogenetic analyses.
This study was funded by the Australian Government through the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) (Project No. 2014/001), the University of Sydney, and James Cook University.
Compliance with ethical standards
Animal ethics approval was obtained from the University of Sydney Animal Ethics Committee (approval number: 720).
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