Philasterides dicentrarchi is an opportunistic histiophagous ciliate parasite causing systemic scuticociliatosis in cultured turbot (Scophthalmus maximus L.). This study investigated the effects of inoculation with live or killed trophozoites of this ciliate (plus 3% thioglycollate) on the in vitro phagocytic activity and respiratory-burst responses of inflammatory peritoneal leucocytes obtained from the fish thus treated. The phagocytic activity of leucocytes from fish inoculated with killed P. dicentrarchi was higher in the presence than in the absence of infected turbot serum (ITS). The effect of ITS was smaller in fish inoculated with live P. dicentrarchi, indicating modulation of the opsonic activity of ITS. Inoculation with live ciliates led to a significant increase in subsequent in vitro extracellular ROS production, but only when normal turbot serum (NTS) or ITS was included in the assay medium. Inclusion of live P. dicentrarchi in the medium abolished this increase, suggesting ROS-scavenging activity. Inoculation with live P. dicentrarchi led to a significant decline in subsequent in vitro intracellular ROS production; when NTS was included in the medium, there was a significant increase in intracellular ROS production, but no such increase was observed when ITS was included in the medium. Inoculation with live P. dicentrarchi alone did not increase subsequent in vitro NO• production in response to LPS; a significant increase was observed when NTS or ITS was included in the assay medium, but this increase was not affected by prior inoculation with P. dicentrarchi. These results suggest that the amphizoic nature of this parasite may reflect the ease with which it can develop mechanisms of evasion of the host immune response.