ABSTRACT

Salmincola californiensis (Dana, 1853) (Subclass Copepoda: Family Lernaeopodidae) is known to parasitize salmonids of the genus Oncorhynchus including Oncorhynchus mykiss (rainbow trout), Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (chinook salmon), and Oncorhynchus kisutch (coho salmon). These 3 salmonids have been introduced to the Great Lakes intermittently since the mid-1800s. As we demonstrate here, the introduction of these salmonids to the Great Lakes was followed, at some point, by the introduction of their parasitic gill copepod, S. californiensis. Given anecdotal accounts of S. californiensis in introduced salmonids in Lake Ontario since 2012, we chose to conduct a survey to formally document the occurrence of this introduced species. Our survey took place during spring, summer, and fall of 2018 and during spring of 2019 at the south-eastern side of Lake Ontario. Prevalence of S. californiensis was 69, with a mean intensity of 2.7 in 61 rainbow trout examined in 2018. In 2019, prevalence of S. californiensis was 71, with a mean intensity of 3.6 in 59 rainbow trout examined. The prevalence of S. californiensis was 39, with a mean intensity of 1.6 in 223 chinook salmon examined in 2018. No specimens of S. californiensis were found in the 100 coho salmon examined in 2018. The prevalence of S. californiensis in rainbow trout is of great concern considering that it is double that found in rainbow trout in the native range (69 [in 2018] and 71 [in 2019] vs. 35). This is the first formal documentation of the invasion of S. californiensis in Lake Ontario. Future fisheries management decisions in Lake Ontario and its tributaries should take into account these data.

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