The Isopod From Hell

by | Jul 20, 2015 | Science | 0 comments


Picture of 9 days post hatch larva with Cirolanid isopod attached

Today while checking up on one of my larval rearing tanks, I spotted something unusual. At first, I thought that one of the larvae had consumed something that was too large for it because it looked like its stomach was protruding. I removed the larva to further examine it under a microscope. To my surprise, I discovered that there was an isopod attached to my fine larva.

It was a Cirolanid isopod of the order Isopoda. Cirolanids come in many different sizes and have a variety of diets. Most Cirolanids are indeed parasitic.

However, it is not uncommon for some species of Cirolanids to be  just scavengers. In this case, this demon-spawn was attached to the bottom jaw of the larva; feeding off its soul. isopodHow did this parasitic terrorist get on my larva? It probably entered the rearing vat on the first day when I added the eggs/larva. This rearing vat was more of an experiment, so I wasn’t very cautious on what went in with them.

Fortunately, I was able to surgically remove the isopod and return the larva to the vat. I am not certain if the larva will make it or not; I can only hope. However, I definitely believe that it has a better chance than it did with the giant life-sucking monstrosity attached to its face.

  • Noel Heinsohn

    Noel started his passion for marine life back in high-school: as far away from the ocean as possible...Iowa. Thanks to an Aquarium Science high-school program he attended for several years at Central Campus. While attending high school, he worked at the local zoo as their aquarist and a local fish store. After high school, Noel attended Oregon Coast Community College for their aquarium science program to advance his knowledge. While in college he worked for Hatfield Marine Science center as an aquarist and interned for NOAA working with cold water aquaculture. For the last five years, he has been serving time at the Long Island Aquarium as their aquaculture aquarist. During this time he has raised 20+ species of fish and invertebrates, including the first captive-bred anthias and the first Genicanthus lamarcks.


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