Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

Planktonic Distribution of Sea Lice Larvae, Lepeophtheirus Salmonis, in Killary Harbour, West Coast of Ireland

M. Costelloea1, J. Costelloea1, G. O'Donohoea1, N.J. Coghlana1, M. Oonka2 and Van Der Heijdena2

a1 Aqua-Fact International Services Ltd, 12 Kilkerrin Park, Liosbaun, Galway, Ireland.

a2 University of Nijmegen, Faculty of Science, Toernooiveld, 6525 ED Nijmegen, Holland

The distribution of Lepeophtheirus salmonis larvae in Killary Harbour was investigated by taking plankton tows from a number of stations on a regular basis during the spring/summer period in 1995 and 1996. Current patterns, ovigerous lice loads on the resident fish and water temperature and salinity were also recorded during the study. Larvae were only found consistently at a station close to a salmon farm at the mouth of the harbour. In the inner harbour, close to the mouths of two rivers, larvae were recovered in sporadic time blocks. Highest densities of larvae were found at the beginning of the study in both years in the inner harbour with a subsequent decrease in the following months. The distribution, density and origin of the larvae are discussed in relation to the prevailing current patterns in the harbour, the ovigerous lice loads on the resident fish and the requirements of the larvae to locate a new host and complete the life cycle.