Salmincola lotae
Salmincola lotae
(parasitic copepod)
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Salmincola lotae Olsson, 1877

Common name: parasitic copepod

Synonyms and Other Names: Lernaeopoda lotae

Identification: This stout and square parasitic copepod is found in the oral cavities of its host fish. It exhibits a maxilliped with subchela that ends as a solid claw. The claw is associated with a long papilla. The copepod possesses a large, flat, and round bulla associated with two maxillary arms. The bulla is typically implanted near bone or cartilage of the host fish. At the termination of the antennae, there are hook-like processes on the endopods. The 2nd maxilla is relatively long and is implanted up to 2/3rds of its length in cavities of 5–8 mm in host tissue (Lasee et al. 1988; Hudson et al. 2003).

Size: range in length from 5.5–6.5 mm (Hudson et al. 2003)

Native Range: Salmincola lotae is native to Eurasia and has been recorded in the Palearctic region in Sweden, Finland, and northern Russia (Bagge and Hakkari 1982; Hudson and Bowen 2002; Grigorovich et al. 2003; Hudson et al. 2003).           

See Remarks section for discussion of uncertainties regarding native range.

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Nonindigenous Occurrences: Salmincola lotae was recorded from the Apostle Islands region of Lake Superior in 1985 in host burbot (Lota lota) (Lasee et al. 1988).

Ecology: Salmincola lotae infects the oral cavity of the burbot (Lota lota) in North America and Eurasia. It probably feeds on mucous and epithelial cells, shredding its host’s epidermis. In Finland, it occurs in burbot at depths of 50–100 m in Lake Paijanne (Bagge and Hakkari 1982; Lasee et al. 1988; Hudson et al. 2003).

Means of Introduction: Unknown.

Status: Reported from Lake Superior. See Remarks.

Impact of Introduction:  

A) Realized: In Lake Superior S. lotae has been known to cause relatively large lesions in the mouth of L. lota where the bulla is implanted. Around 56% of burbot in the Apostle Islands region have been infected at a given time with on average 3.6 parasites per fish. Most often, L. lota in Lake Superior have exhibited infection in the roof of the mouth behind the vomerine teeth (Lasee et al. 1988; Hudson et al. 2003).           

B) Potential: Unknown.

Remarks: This species has also been recorded in burbot from the Northwest Territories, Canada (Stewart and Bernier 1983, 1999), although there is some question over the validity of records (McDonald and Margulis 1995; Hudson et al. 2003). In spite of this, some experts have recently begun to consider that S. lotae may actually be native to the Nearctic region and thus could be native to Lake Superior (Reid and Hudson 2008).           

Salmincola lotae is synonymous with Lernaeopoda lotae.

References: (click for full references)

Bagge, P., and L. Hakkari. 1982. The food and parasites of fish in some deep basins of northern L. Paijanne. Hydrobiologia 86: 61-65.

GLMRIS. 2012. Appendix C: Inventory of Available Controls for Aquatic Nuisance Species of Concern, Chicago Area Waterway System. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Grigorovich, I.A., R.I. Colautti, E.L. Mills, K. Holeck, A.G. Ballert, and J.H. MacIsaac. 2003. Ballast-mediated animal introductions in the Laurentian Great Lakes: retrospective and prospective analyses. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 60: 740-756.

Hudson, P.L., and C.A. Bowen II.  2002.  First record of Neoergasilus japonicus (Poecilostomatoida: Ergasilidae), a parasitic copepod new to the Laurentian Great Lakes. Journal of Parasitology 88: 657-663.

Hudson, P.L., L.T. Lesko, C.A. Bowen II, W.J. Poly, and M.A. Chriscinske. 2003. Parasitic copepods and branchiurans of the Laurentian Great Lakes. Ann Arbor, Michigan, Great Lakes Science Center Home Page. copepods/Key.asp?GROUP=Parasite

Lasee, B.A., D.R. Sutherland, and M.E. Moubry. 1988. Host-parasite relationships between burbot Lota lota and adult Salmincola lotae (Copepoda). Canadian Journal of Zoology 66(11): 2459-2463.

McDonald, T.E., and L. Margolis. 1995. Synopsis of the parasites of fishes of Canada: supplement (1978-1993). Canadian Special Publication, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences No. 122. 265 pp.

Reid, J.W., and P.L. Hudson. 2008. Comment on “Rate of species introductions in the Great Lakes via ships’ ballast water and sediments”. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 65(3): 549-553.

Stewart, D.B., and L.M.J. Bernier. 1983. An aquatic survey of King William and Victoria Islands, and the northeastern District of Keewatin, Northwest Territories. Lands Directorate, Environment Canada and Northern Environment Directorate, Indian and Northern Affairs, Background Report. No. 3. 127 pp.

Stewart, D.B., and L.M.J. Bernier. 1999. Common parasites, diseases and injuries of freshwater fishes in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Prepared by Arctic Biological Consultants for the Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Central and Arctic Region, Winnipeg. 41 pp.

Other Resources:
Great Lakes Water Life - Great Lakes Sea Grant

Author: Kipp, R.M., J. Larson, T.H. Makled, and A. Fusaro

Revision Date: 6/25/2013

Citation Information:
Kipp, R.M., J. Larson, T.H. Makled, and A. Fusaro, 2017, Salmincola lotae Olsson, 1877: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 6/25/2013, Access Date: 9/21/2017

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2017]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [9/21/2017].

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