Milbemycin Oxime (Interceptor®) Treatment of Amphipod Parasites (Hyperiidae) From Several Host Jellyfish Species
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2014
Jennifer L. Boonstra1,2, DVM, MPH, DACVPM; Maureen Koneval1; James Clark1; Mark Schick1; Malissa Smith1
1Department of Animal Health, John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL, USA; 2Current address: Potawatomi Zoo, South Bend, IN, USA


On 28 June 2012, 36 wild-caught Crystal jellyfish (Aequorea victoria) from the coast of Victoria, British Columbia arrived at the John G. Shedd Aquarium. It was later discovered that these jellyfish were infested with hyperiid amphipods (Hyperia medusarum). All hyperiid amphipods are believed to be obligate parasites of gelatinous zooplankton during their development.2,3,5 In this case, the amphipods were introduced into a system containing several jellyfish species. Commonly used chemotherapeutics, such as copper and formaldehyde used to eradicate ectoparasites from fishes are generally not tolerated by aquatic invertebrates, such as jellyfish.1 Therefore, the decision was made to use milbemycin oxime (Interceptor® tablets for dogs 50–100 lb, Novartis Animal Health US, Inc., Greensboro, NC, USA), a treatment prescribed for red bug (Tegastes acroporanus) infestation in corals.4

The affected systems received two treatments using one 25 mg aliquot of Interceptor® per 10 gallons of tank water, 6–7 days apart.4 A third treatment was scheduled; however, Interceptor® became no longer available at this time. Despite this, overall treatment to eradicate the parasite from the affected systems was successful. Although the majority of species endured the treatment with no obvious adverse effects, further studies evaluating the tolerance of jellyfish to milbemycin oxime, particularly in small juvenile E. indicans and A. aurita, are warranted. Overall, there were potentially more negative effects associated with the treatment in the hydrozoans than the scyphozoans. Further studies using a different milbemycin oxime product would be beneficial.

Literature Cited

1.  Crossley SMG, George AL, Keller CJ. A method for eradicating amphipod parasites (Hyperiidae) from host jellyfish, Chrysaora fuscescens (Brandt, 1835), in a closed recirculating system. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2009;40:174–180.

2.  Dahl E. The amphipod, Hyperia galba, an ectoparasite of the jellyfish Cyanea capillata. Nature (Lond.) 1959;183:1749.

3.  Laval P. Hyperiid amphipods as crustacean parasitoids associated with gelatinous zooplankton. Oceanography and Marine Biology Annual Review. 1980;18:11–56.

4.  Lehmann W. Coral reef aquarium husbandry and health. In: Lewbart GA, ed. Invertebrate Medicine. 2nd ed. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons; 2011:57–76.

5.  Thurston MH. Depth distribution of Hyperia spinigera Bovallius, 1889 (Crustacea: Amphioda) and medusa in the North Atlantic Ocean, with notes on the associations between Hyperia and coelenterates. In: Angel M, ed. A Voyage of Discovery: George Deacon 70th Anniversary Volume. Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press; 1977:499–536.


Speaker Information
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Jennifer L. Boonstra, DVM, MPH, DACVPM
Department of Animal Health
John G. Shedd Aquarium
Chicago, IL, USA

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