Impairment of retinal function in yellow perch (Perca flavescens) by Diplostomum baeri metacercariae
International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife
Histologic studies of fish from Douglas Lake, Cheboygan County, Michigan, USA show that Diplostomum spp. infect the lens of spottail shiners (Notropis hudsonius) and common shiners (Luxilus cornutus). In contrast, infection was confined to the choroidal vasculature of yellow perch (Perca flavescens), and the morphology of the pigment epithelium and retina in regions adjacent to the metacercariae was abnormal. The difference in location of metacercariae within the host suggested that different Diplostomum species may infect shiners and perch in Douglas Lake. Species diversity was investigated by sequencing the barcode region of the cytochrome oxidase I gene of metacercariae. Four species of Diplostomum were identified, all four of which were present in shiner lenses; however, only Diplostomum baeri was present in the perch choroid. To determine whether infection of perch eyes affects the response of the retina to a light stimulus, electroretinograms (ERG) were recorded. The amplitude of the b-wave of the ERG was reduced and the b-wave latency was increased in infected perch, as compared to uninfected eyes, and the flicker-fusion frequency was also reduced. Infection of the yellow perch choroid by Diplostomum baeri, which shows strong host and tissue specificity, has an adverse effect on retinal function, lending support to the hypothesis that parasite-induced impairment of host vision may afford Diplostomum baeri the evolutionary benefit of increasing the likelihood of transmission, via host fish predation, to its definitive avian host.
Ubels, John L.; DeJong, Randall J.; Hoolsema, Brittany; and Wurzberger, Amy, "Impairment of retinal function in yellow perch (Perca flavescens) by Diplostomum baeri metacercariae" (2018). University Faculty Publications and Creative Works. 179.