Epizootic ulcerative syndrome (EUS) caused by the oomycete Aphanomyces invadans is an invasive, opportunistic disease of both freshwater and estuarine fishes. Originally documented as the cause of mycotic granulomatosis of ornamental fishes in Japan and as the cause of EUS of fishes in southeast Asia and Australia, this pathogen is also present in estuaries and freshwater bodies of the Atlantic and gulf coasts of the USA. We describe a mass mortality event of 343 captive juvenile bullseye snakehead Channa marulius collected from freshwater canals in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Clinical signs appeared within the first 2 d of captivity and included petechiae, ulceration, erratic swimming, and inappetence. Histological examination revealed hyphae invading from the skin lesions deep into the musculature and internal organs. Species identification was confirmed using a species-specific PCR assay. Despite therapeutic attempts, 100% mortality occurred. This represents the first documented case of EUS in bullseye snakehead fish collected from waters in the USA. Future investigation of the distribution and prevalence of A. invadans within the bullseye snakehead range in south Florida may give insight into this pathogen-host system.
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Epizootic ulcerative syndrome caused by Aphanomyces invadans in captive bullseye snakehead Channa marulius collected from south Florida, USA