Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) is a suitable host for Gyrodactylus salaris (Monogenea, Gyrodactylidae) in Norway

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Gyrodactylus specimens infecting both anadromous Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) from River Signaldalselva (northern Norway) and resident Arctic charr from Lake Pålsbufjorden (southern Norway) were identified as G. salaris using molecular markers and morphometrics. The infection in Pålsbufjorden represents the first record of a viable G. salaris population infecting a host in the wild in the absence of salmon (Salmo salar). G. salaris on charr from Signaldalselva and Pålsbufjorden bear different mitochondrial haplotypes. While parasites infecting charr in Signaldalselva carry the same mitochondrial haplotype as parasites from sympatric Atlantic salmon, G. salaris from charr in Pålsbufjorden bear a haplotype that has previously been found in parasites infecting rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Atlantic salmon, and an IGS repeat arrangement that is very similar to those observed earlier in parasites infecting rainbow trout. Accordingly, the infection may result from 2 subsequent host-switches (from salmon via rainbow trout to charr). Morphometric analyses revealed significant differences between G. salaris infecting charr in the 2 localities, and between those on sympatric charr and salmon within Signaldalselva. These differences may reflect adaptations to a new host species, different environmental conditions, and/or inherited differences between the G. salaris strains. The discovery of G. salaris on populations of both anadromous and resident charr may have severe implications for Atlantic salmon stock-management as charr may represent a reservoir for infection of salmon.

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