U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Pages 237-243 in R.C. Cipriano, A.W. Bruckner and I.S. Shchelkunovv, editors. 2011. Bridging America and Russia with Shared Perspectives on Aquatic Animal Health. Proceedings of the Third Bilateral Conference between Russia and the United States, 12-20 July 2009. Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Khaled bin Sultan Living Ocean Foundation, Landover, Maryland, USA.


In the middle to late 1990s, an emerging digenetic trematode problem was recognized in the channel catfish industry. Morphologic and molecular analysis identified the culprit as Bolbophorns damnificus. The American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos serves as the definitive host, while the marsh rams-horn snail (Planorbella trivolvis) is the first intermediate host. Diagnosis of an infection involves identifying the metacercariae in the subcutaneous tissues. Infestations can be life threatening to catfish fingerlings but the proximate cause of mortality has not been ascertained. They may also predispose fingerlings to secondary infections. Larger fish do not usually succumb to the infestation, but have poor production thus posing significant economic losses. Current methods of control (biological and chemical) have centered on eradication of the snail host. Chemical control includes shoreline treatments using copper sulfate or hydrated lime. This information is the result of multi-institutional and multidisciplinary efforts that have been expended to identify and explore the pathobiology of the parasite as well as its intermediate and final hosts.