The parasitic copepod Neoergasilus japonicus, native to eastern Asia, was first collected from 4 species of fish (fathead minnow, Pimephales promelas; largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides; pumpkinseed sunfish, Lepomis gibbosus; and yellow perch, Perca flavescens) in July 1994 in Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron, Michigan. Further sampling in the bay in 2001 revealed infections on 7 additional species (bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus; carp, Cyprinus carpio; channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus; goldfish, Carassius auratus; green sunfish, Lepomis cyanellus; rock bass, Ambloplites rupestris; and smallmouth bass, Micropterus dolomieu). An additional 21 species examined in 2001 were devoid of the parasite. A limited collection of fish from Lake Superior (n = 8) and Lake Michigan (n = 46) in 1994 showed no infection. Neoergasilus japonicus is most frequently found attached to the dorsal fin and, in decreasing frequency, on the anal, tail, pelvic, and pectoral fins. Prevalence generally ranged from 15 to 70 and intensity from 1 to 10. The greatest number of copepods on a single host was 44. The copepod Neoergasilus japonicus appears to disperse over long distances rather quickly, spreading across Europe in 20 yr and then moving on to North America over a span of 10 yr. Its main vehicle of transport and introduction into the Great Lakes is probably exotic fish hosts associated with the fish-culture industry.
Additional publication details
First record of Neoergasilus japonicus (Poecilostomatoida: Ergasilidae), a parasitic copepod new to the Laurentian Great Lakes