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Bosch-Belmar M.,University of Salento | Bosch-Belmar M.,Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Science Del Mare | M'Rabet C.,National Agronomic Institute of Tunis | Dhaouadi R.,Ecole Nationale de Medecine Veterinaire | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Jellyfish are of particular concern for marine finfish aquaculture. In recent years repeated mass mortality episodes of farmed fish were caused by blooms of gelatinous cnidarian stingers, as a consequence of a wide range of hemolytic, cytotoxic, and neurotoxic properties of associated cnidocytes venoms. The mauve stinger jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca (Scyphozoa) has been identified as direct causative agent for several documented fish mortality events both in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea aquaculture farms. We investigated the effects of P. noctiluca envenomations on the gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata by in vivo laboratory assays. Fish were incubated for 8 hours with jellyfish at 3 different densities in 300 l experimental tanks. Gill disorders were assessed by histological analyses and histopathological scoring of samples collected at time intervals from 3 hours to 4 weeks after initial exposure. Fish gills showed different extent and severity of gill lesions according to jellyfish density and incubation time, and long after the removal of jellyfish from tanks. Jellyfish envenomation elicits local and systemic inflammation reactions, histopathology and gill cell toxicity, with severe impacts on fish health. Altogether, these results shows P. noctiluca swarms may represent a high risk for Mediterranean finfish aquaculture farms, generating significant gill damage after only a few hours of contact with farmed S. aurata. Due to the growth of the aquaculture sector and the increased frequency of jellyfish blooms in the coastal waters, negative interactions between stinging jellyfish and farmed fish are likely to increase with the potential for significant economic losses. © 2016 Bosch-Belmar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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