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Keywords:

  • sea lice;
  • sea trout;
  • adaptation;
  • selection;
  • parasite

Two experimental groups comprising mixed Norwegian sea run and freshwater resident brown trout Salmo trutta were infected with sea lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis in replicate tanks. Comparison of mean abundance and louse development between the sea run and resident groups revealed highly significant differences in lice abundance. The resident trout had an average abundance ± of 6·3±0·37 and 6·6±0·43 lice whilst the sea trout had an average abundance of 3·5 ±0·25 and 3·3 ±0·28 lice 29 days post infection at 9° C. No differences in development of lice, of either sex, were detected between the groups. As host groups were naive to sea lice at the start of the experiment, this suggests that there was a significant difference in susceptibility to sea lice infection between them, which may be genetically determined.