Ichthyophonus-infected Pacific herring, Clupea pallasii, were allowed to decompose in ambient seawater then serially sampled for 29 days to evaluate parasite viability and infectivity for Pacific staghorn sculpin, Leptocottus armatus. Ichthyophonus sp. was viable in decomposing herring tissues for at least 29 days post-mortem and could be transmitted via ingestion to sculpin for up to 5 days. The parasite underwent morphologic changes during the first 48 hr following death of the host that were similar to those previously reported, but as host tissue decomposition progressed, several previously un-described forms of the parasite were observed. The significance of long-term survival and continued morphologic transformation in the post-mortem host is unknown, but it could represent a saprozoic phase of the parasite life cycle that has survival value for Ichthyophonus sp.

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