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Lernaea cyprinacea
Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey
Lernaea cyprinacea
Taxonomic Group: Crustaceans-Copepods


Lernaea cyprinacea is an ectoparasitic copepod, commonly known as an Anchor-worm. It is most likely native to Asia, including Japan, but has a wide global distribution including Europe, Africa, Australia, North America, and South America. It can infect a wide range of teleost fish (100+ species) and amphibians. It ranges extensively throughout North America, where it is considered to be introduced, with records from almost every state. It is primarily restricted to fresh water, but has extended into tidal reaches in Oregon, California and South Carolina. It can tolerate salinities up to 12 PSU, but eggs cannot develop at salinities above 3.5 PSU. While this species has been extensively studied in terms of prevalence and pathology, and is known as a serious pest in aquaculture situations, its impact on the density, biomass, and age-structure of natural fish populations is not well understood.

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Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, Simkanin C, & Carlton JT (2018)
National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System.
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Marine Invasions Lab
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

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