We assessed endemic age-0 cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki for evidence of pathology associated with Myxobolus cerebralis in two streams formed by springs in western Wyoming. We hypothesized that the location of spawning sites in spring streams would affect the extent of exposure of cutthroat trout fry to M. cerebralis triactinomyxons (tams), occurrence of the parasite in their bodies, and clinical signs of whirling disease. The spring streams were warm relative to nearby streams flowing from the mountains or spawning and emergence of fry was early compared with fish in mountain streams. Tams were abundant early in the summer and clinical signs of whirling disease among age-0 fish were seen as early as mid-June in one stream. There were high densities of tams in one stream, and densities declined with upstream progression from May through July, whereas in the other stream, low densities of tams were observed in the downstream portion early in the summer, and they were not detected in July and August. Age-0 cutthroat trout were abundant; clinical signs of whirling disease were evident, and histological evidence of whirling disease was common in the stream where tams were abundant. Low densities of age-0 cutthroat trout and no clinical signs of whirling disease were observed in the stream where tams were not abundant. Among sentinel fish in the stream with abundant tams, we found extensive occurrence of M. cerebralis, with many fish showing clinical signs and histological evidence of pathology associated with M. cerebralis. The proportion of sentinel fish with clinical and histological signs of whirling disease decreased with upstream progression. In the stream with low tam, densities sentinel fish became infected with M. cerebralis, but there were essentially no clinical signs or histological indications of whirling disease. ?? 2002 by the American Fisheries Society.
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Whirling disease among snake river cutthroat trout in two spring streams in Wyoming