In vitro studies indicated that commercially prepared transport systems containing Amies, Stuart's, and Cary-Blair media worked equally well in sustaining the viability of the fish pathogen Aeromonas salmonicida, which causes furunculosis. The bacterium remained viable without significant increase or decrease in cell numbers for as long as 48 h of incubation at 18-20??C in Stuart's transport medium; consequently, obtaining mucus samples in such tubes were comparable to on-site detection of A. salmonicida by dilution plate counts on Coomassie Brilliant Blue agar. In three different assays of 100 samples of mucus from Atlantic salmon Salmo salar infected subclinically with A. salmonicida, dilution counts conducted on-site proved more reliable for detecting the pathogen than obtaining the samples in the transport system. In the on-site assays, dilution counts detected the pathogen in 34, 41, and 22 samples, whereas this was accomplished in only 15, 15, and 3 of the respective samples when the transport system was used. In an additional experiment, Arctic char Salvelinus alpinus sustaining a frank epizootic of furunculosis were sampled similarly. Here, too, dilution counts were more predictive of the prevalence of A. salmonicida and detected the pathogen in 46 mucus samples; in comparison, only 6 samples collected by using the transport system were positive. We also observed that the transport system supported the growth of the normal mucus bacterial flora. Particularly predominant among these were motile aeromonads and Pseudomonas fluorescens. In studies of mixed culture growth, two representatives of both of the latter genera of bacteria outgrew A. salmonicida - in some cases, to the total exclusion of the pathogen itself.