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Chronic ulcerative dermatopathy in cultured marine fishes. Comparative study in sharpsnout sea bream, Diplodus puntazzo (Walbaum)


Dr Pantelis Katharios, Institute of Aquaculture, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Former American Base of Gournes, Heraklion 71003, Crete, PO BOX 2214, Greece (e-mail:


Chronic ulcerative dermatopathy (CUD) also known as chronic erosive dermatopathy, hole-in-the-head, head and lateral line erosion syndrome (HLLE) and lateral line depigmentation (LLD) is a chronic disease of unknown aetiology that affects the lateral line canals of the head and the trunk of various fish species. It has been described only in freshwater species although there are reports that it also affects marine fish. Here, we describe the disease in cultured sharpsnout sea bream using histology and scanning electron microscopy and identify several marine species as CUD sensitive. The results of this study correlate the development of the disease with the use of borehole water, indicating that the aetiology is probably associated with water quality rather than nutritional imbalance or infectious agents.