The copepod Caligus rogercresseyi is an ectoparasite of several salmonid species. The pumping activity of filter-feeding molluscs could reduce the abundance of copepod dispersive larval stages in the water column. In this research, nauplius II and copepodid larvae of C. rogercresseyi were exposed to filtering mussels (Mytilus chilensis) of different sizes. These mussels were able to filter both larval stages, although they were more efficient in catching nauplius II. The fact that nauplius II were ingested more efficiently could be explained by their smaller size, lower swimming velocity (escape) and longer resting times between movements, when they were exposed to the influx of water around the inhalant area of the mussels. Larger mussels were more effective filtering C. rogercresseyi larvae due to their larger inhalant area and the related water influx. Additionally, the results suggest that larvae captured by the mussels can be incorporated into pseudofaeces or ingested and then released as part of the faeces. Thus, high concentrations of M. chilensis surrounding salmon farms may act as biological barriers, reducing the density of copepod dispersive larval stages and, thus, salmon infestations.
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