Along the eastern seaboard of the US, Atlantic menhaden, Brevoortia tyrannus, develop characteristic ulcerative lesions, a condition termed ulcerative mycosis. These lesions are identical to those seen across Asia in fish affected by epizootic ulcerative syndrome, a condition caused by the fungus-like oomycete Aphanomyces Invadans. Young-of-the-year menhaden inhabiting estuarine environments are the primary species affected in the USA and little is known about the factors involved in the initiation of the lesions, or why menhaden are predominantly infected. Atlantic menhaden, hogchoker, Trinectus maculatus, striped killifish, Fundulus majalis, and mummichog, Fundulus heteroclitus, were inoculated with A. invadans (80 zoospores per fish) to explore species differences in infection and lesion development. All four species developed lesions. Killifish developed frank lesions similar to those observed in menhaden but the gross lesions occurred later, approximately 5-10 days after those on menhaden. Hogchoker and mummichog did not develop gross skin ulcers; rather, their lesions appeared as reddened areas under the epidermis. Mummichogs also showed evidence of significant healing with a well-developed granuloma and significant myocyte regeneration. These experiments show that species barriers as well as ecological barriers can explain some of the factors involved in the development of lesions in, and specificity of the water mould for, menhaden.
Additional publication details
Infection experiments with Aphanomyces invadans in four species of estuarine fish