Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Well, that's offputting

Posted By on Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 3:42 PM


click to enlarge Tapioca pudding - CREATIVE COMMONS,  INTERIOT AND RAINER ZENZ
  • Creative Commons, Interiot and Rainer Zenz
  • Tapioca pudding
White, slimy nodules of tapioca-like substance oozing from your lovely fresh-caught salmon. Yick. It's a find only Walter Bishop would find delightful.

Anyway — the Two Rivers Tribune reports that "Chinook salmon caught in the Klamath River were found infested with a white and egg-shaped parasite named Henneguya embedded in their muscle tissues."

The parasite is not harmful to people, the story reports. And how does it get in the fish in the first place? Says the TRT:

"While at sea, the fish are subjected to sea lice that attach themselves. The sea lice eat the skin and blood of the fish, breaking their first layer of outer protection, which allows the parasite to enter the body."

The story notes that the lack of cleansing, higher river flows might have contributed to the spread of the parasites. Although the story doesn't elaborate, possibly because it's obvious, it appears these parasites enter the fish in their freshwater phase, according to a report by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

"When post-spawned salmon decompose, the cysts rupture and release spores into the water where they are likely ingested by an invertebrate intermediate host such as a tubificid worm. Infectious stages (triactinomyxons) for juvenile salmon develop in the invertebrate host and are released into the water column.

Read the TRT's full account, where you'll also find a striking photo of a Henneguya-infected Klamath Chinook salmon.

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Heidi Walters

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Heidi Walters has been a staff writer with the North Coast Journal since 2005.

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