Morphology of Lesions Caused by the Isopod Glossobius hemiramphi in the Ballyhoo (Hemiramphus brasiliensis)
IAAAM Archive
R. M. Howard1; Ilze K. Berzins2; Wayne Price3
1Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, Aquatic Diagnostic Laboratory, Stoneville, MS; 2The Florida Aquarium, Tampa, FL; 3Department of Biology, The University of Tampa, Tampa, FL


Glossobius hemiramphi is a parasitic isopod found in the ballyhoo, Hemiramphus brasiliensis. Although the isopod has been previously described1, little information is available on the effect of the parasite on its host. The larger female, ~3.0 cm, sits in the buccal cavity on the lower jaw of the host fish and attaches via the hook-like dactyls of its thoracic appendages. The smaller male, ~1.0 cm, attaches to the second or third gill arch. Grossly, the tongue of the parasitized fish is missing. There are multiple, deep erosions in the lower jaw of the fish; areas where the parasite's mouth-parts are embedded and others where the dactyls are attached. The gill arch, however, is grossly normal. On histopathological examination, the epithelium in the mouth of the parasitized fish is degenerate, compressed, or missing. Small numbers of chronic inflammatory cells are present in the connective tissue. The underlying muscle layer is reduced in thickness and the dermal papillae are thickened. Small numbers of localized inflammatory cells (macrophages) are noted around the dactyls. Effects on feeding ability and growth rate of the host are unknown.


The authors wish to thank Rich McBride, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for donation of the study specimens, The University of South Florida Diagnostic Laboratory for preparation of the micro slides, The Florida Veterinary Specialists of Tampa for the use of their radiology personnel and equipment, The University of South Florida Libraries System, Steve Poet DVM PhD, Susan Root CVT, and Micah Bakenhaster (FWC).


1.  Bruce, Niel L., and Thomas E. Bowman. 1989. Species of the parasitic isopod genera Ceratothoa and Glossobius (Crustacea: Cymothoidae) from the mouths of flying fishes and halfbeaks (Beloniformes). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, number 489.

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R. M. Howard

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