Post-haemorrhagic anaemia in sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax (L.), caused by blood feeding of Ceratothoa oestroides (Isopoda: Cymothoidae)


Dr T Horton, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Empress Dock, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK (e-mail:


The effects of the fish parasitic isopod, Ceratothoa oestroides (Risso), on haematological parameters of its cage-cultured sea bass host, Dicentrarchus labrax (L.), were studied. Analyses of blood parameters (cell counts, haemoglobin content and haematocrit) were carried out on parasitized and unparasitized sea bass from a fish farm in Turkey. Parasitized fish had significantly lowered erythrocyte counts, haematocrit and haemoglobin values and significantly increased leucocyte counts. Blood feeding by C. oestroides thus produces a post-haemorrhagic anaemia and the fish appear to mount an immune response to the presence of parasites.