Distribution and abundance of the salmonid parasite Parvicapsula minibicornis (Myxozoa) in the Klamath River basin (Oregon-California, U.S.A.)

Dis Aquat Organ. 2007 Dec 13;78(2):137-46. doi: 10.3354/dao01877.


The distribution and abundance of the myxosporean parasite Parvicapsula minibicornis in the Klamath River mirrored that of Ceratomyxa shasta, with which it shares both its vertebrate and invertebrate host. Assay of fish held at sentinel sites and water samples collected from those sites showed that parasite prevalence was highest below Iron Gate dam, which is the barrier to anadromous salmon passage. Above this barrier parasite levels fluctuated, with the parasite detected in the free-flowing river reaches between reservoirs. This was consistent with infection prevalence in the polychaete host, Manayunkia speciosa, which was greater than 1% only in populations tested below Iron Gate dam. Although a low prevalence of infection was detected in juvenile out-migrant fish in the Trinity River, the tributaries tested did not appear to be a significant source of the parasite to the mainstem despite the presence of large numbers of infected adult salmon that migrate and spawn there. Rainbow trout became infected during sentinel exposure, which expands the host range for P. minibicornis and suggests that wild rainbow trout populations are a reservoir for infection, especially above Iron Gate dam. High parasite prevalence in the lower Klamath River is likely a combined effect of high spore input from heavily infected, spawned adult salmon and the proximity to dense populations of polychaetes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • California / epidemiology
  • Eukaryota / pathogenicity
  • Fish Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Fish Diseases / parasitology*
  • Incidence
  • Kidney / parasitology
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss / parasitology
  • Oregon / epidemiology
  • Polychaeta / parasitology
  • Population Density
  • Prevalence
  • Protozoan Infections, Animal / epidemiology*
  • Protozoan Infections, Animal / parasitology*
  • Rivers / parasitology
  • Salmon / parasitology
  • Salmonidae / parasitology*
  • Sentinel Surveillance / veterinary
  • Spores, Protozoan / isolation & purification