Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Gyrodactylus salaris aquatic parasites. G. salaris is a small monogenean ectoparasite (about 0.5 mm long) which lives mainly on the skin and fins of freshwater fish, especially Atlantic salmon. Gyrodactylids are the only parasitic worms that reproduce in situ on their host. The parasites give birth to live young nearly as big as themselves. In the meantime a further generation is already growing inside the neonates. Large numbers of parasites therefore build up very rapidly. Newborn parasites attach to their host alongside their mothers using an attachment organ, the opisthaptor. They feed on mucus and epithelial cells, and can move freely on the host. Magnification: x260 when printed at 10cm wide.
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