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Parasitic Worm on Striped Bass


Bill Rodney <[log in to unmask]>


Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>


Thu, 22 Jun 2000 14:46:26 -0400





text/plain (1 lines)

Dear Fish-Sci Readers,
I recently came across the following anecdote and found it quite
interesting. I have been sampling fish in the Chesapeake Bay area for the
last several years but I have never encountered anything matching the
description of the organism these gentlemen describe. Does anyone have any
idea what this thing could be? This fish was a striped bass (Morone
saxatilis), caught in mesohaline waters.
Bill R.
"Walleye Pete and I were bailing rockfish early Wednesday morning for a
couple of hours. One of the rockfish came up with something wrong with his
Upon closer inspection, I saw a sight that is STILL making my flesh crawl!
Stop reading NOW if you get grossed out easily!
The entire front of the rockfish's face was being eaten by what appeared to
be a segmented worn that looked a lot like a tan-colored bloodworm. UGH!
It had bored holes in and out of the flesh and bone of the fish's snout,
back and forth, and had hollowed out a good portion of it. The tunnels
through the fish looked similar to swiss cheese, with a big, nasty worm
squirming through the holes. I touched the worm with the tip of my knife,
and the worm started squirming from one part of the fish's face to another.
At first it looked like several smaller worms, but I think it was just one
big one.
The sight of a worm burrowing in living flesh, was one of the most horrible
I have ever seen! Like some kind of sick horror film! Disgusted, I cut the
loops of the worm that I could get to, which began bleeding a surprising
amount. I hope I killed that nasty thing!
The rockfish was vigorus when I caught and released him, acting as if
nothing was wrong. I hope he heals, but I wonder if he isn't going to die
from infection of those nasty open wounds.
Now the question: WHAT WAS THAT THING? I have never seen a parasite like
that, or one that eats through flesh and bone like that while the animal is
still alive.
Anyone have any ideas?

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