Fish - Diseases


Like other animals, fish suffer from diseases and parasites. To prevent disease they have a variety of defenses. Non-specific defenses include the skin and scales, as well as the mucus layer secreted by the epidermis that traps and inhibits the growth of microorganisms. If pathogens breach these defenses, fish can develop an inflammatory response that increases blood flow to the infected region and delivers white blood cells that attempt to destroy pathogens. Specific defenses respond to particular pathogens recognised by the fish's body, i.e., an immune response. In recent years, vaccines have become widely used in aquaculture and also with ornamental fish, for example furunculosis vaccines in farmed salmon and koi herpes virus in koi.

Some species use cleaner fish to remove external parasites. The best known of these are the Bluestreak cleaner wrasses of the genus Labroides found on coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. These small fish maintain so-called "cleaning stations" where other fish congregate and perform specific movements to attract the attention of the cleaners. Cleaning behaviors have been observed in a number of fish groups, including an interesting case between two cichlids of the same genus, Etroplus maculatus, the cleaner, and the much larger Etroplus suratensis.

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Famous quotes containing the word diseases:

    But what is quackery? It is commonly an attempt to cure the diseases of a man by addressing his body alone. There is need of a physician who shall minister to both soul and body at once, that is, to man. Now he falls between two stools.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    A fiction about soft or easy deaths ... is part of the mythology of most diseases that are not considered shameful or demeaning.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933)