Chemoreception in the salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis): an electrophysiology approach
Fields, David M.
Weissburg, Marc J.
Browman, H. I.
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The search for effective and long-term solutions to the problems caused by salmon lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer, 1837) has increasingly included biological/ecological mechanisms to combat infestation. One aspect of this work focuses on the host-associated stimuli that parasites use to locate and discriminate a compatible host. In this study we used electrophysiological recordings made directly from the antennule of adult lice to investigate the chemosensitivity of L salmonis to putative chemical attractants from fish flesh, prepared by soaking whole fish tissue in seawater. There was a clear physiological response to whole fish extract (WFX) with threshold sensitivity at a dilution of 10–4. When WFX was size fractionated, L. salmonis showed the greatest responses to the water-soluble fractions containing compounds between 1 and 10 kDa. The results suggest that the low molecular weight, water-soluble compounds found in salmon flesh may be important in salmon lice host choice.