Pacific Lampreys Entosphenus tridentatus have experienced severe population declines in recent years and efforts to develop captive rearing programs are under consideration. However, there is limited knowledge of their life history, ecology, and potential to harbor or transmit pathogens that may cause infectious disease. As a measure of the possible risks associated with introducing wild lampreys into existing fish culture facilities, larval lampreys (ammocoetes) were tested for susceptibility to infection and mortality caused by experimental exposures to the fish rhabdovirus pathogens: infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) and viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV). Two IHNV isolates, representing the U and M genogroups, and one VHSV isolate from the IVa genotype were each delivered to groups of ammocoetes by immersion at moderate and high viral doses, and by intraperitoneal injection. Ammocoetes were then held in triplicate tanks with no substrate or sediment. During 41 d of observation postchallenge there was low or no mortality in all groups, and no virus was detected in the small number of fish that died. Ammocoetes sampled for incidence of infection at 6 and 12 d after immersion challenges also had no detectable virus, and no virus was detected in surviving fish from any group. A small number of ammocoetes sampled 6 d after the injection challenge had detectable virus, but at levels below the original quantity of virus injected. Overall there was no evidence of infection, replication, or persistence of any of the viruses in any of the treatment groups. Our results suggest that Pacific Lampreys are highly unlikely to serve as hosts that maintain or transmit these viruses.
Additional publication details
Ammocoetes of Pacific lamprey are not susceptible to common fish rhabdoviruses of the U.S. Pacific Northwest