Parasitology, Harold W. Manter Laboratory of


Date of this Version

April 1956


Published in The Journal of Parasitology 42:2 (April 1956), pp. 172. Published by the American Society of Parasitologists.


The parasitic copepods of the family Argulidae, commonly known as fish lice, are known to infest many fishes. (See Meehean, 0. L., Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus. Vol. 88, 1940, and Wilson, C. B., Proc. U. S. N. M., Vol. 94, 1944). We wish here to report instances of parasitism on a salamander and a frog tadpole by a species of these copepods.

The first case involved a specimen of the perennibranch salamander, Pseudobranchus s. axanthus, collected near Gainesville, Florida. About December 1, 1939, a lump was noted on the head of an adult that had been in an aquarium in the laboratory for several weeks, but the lump was mistaken for a mass of detritus. However, the salamander gradually became weak and inactive, and on December 7, it was found lying on its side on the bottom of the aquarium. The lump was still present, but now was about half an inch behind the head. Upon close examination, it was found that what had been mistaken for detritus was in reality a parasitic copepod Argulus amcricanus (Wilson). The copepod was removed and the Pseudobranchus was put back in the aquarium with fresh water, but it continued to weaken and died on December 9.

The second instance concerned a tadpole of the frog, Rana heckscheri Wright. While large tadpoles of this species were being collected during November, 1955, at Newman's Lake, about four miles east of Gainesville, a specimen was found that had two individuals of A. americattus attached to it. Since the tadpole as well as the copepods were preserved shortly after capture, we cannot report on how the parasites affected the well-being of the tadpole.

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