Caligus rogercresseyi is the dominant sea louse parasite affecting the salmon and trout industry in southern Chile. This parasite has a wide range of native and endemic fish hosts. The Patagonian blenny Eleginops maclovinus, which is parasitized mostly by the caligid species Lepeophtheirus spp. and C. rogercresseyi, is presumably responsible for the transmission of C. rogercresseyi to salmonids. The aim of this study was to characterize the transmission of parasites between different fish species and parasite cohort development under laboratory conditions. Parasite abundances and intensities were quantified. Transmission of parasites from Patagonian blenny to Atlantic salmon Salmo salar was lower (~9%, mainly corresponding to C. rogercresseyi) than from salmon to Patagonian blenny (14.7-26.9%, where only C. rogercresseyi were observed). This suggests that the transmission of C. rogercresseyi from salmon individuals is higher than the transmission from a native fish. Parasite cohorts developed successfully on both fish species, but apparently under different developmental rates. Water temperature, oxygen, and juvenile abundances were the variables that better explained cohort development success and variation in C. rogercresseyi adult abundances over time.
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