|Getting Rid of Lice Index|
- Detection with the best methods and treatment with the best products
- Info about Combs, Lotions, Liquids, Insecticides and Medication
- Facts and Information about different types of louse
- Prevention, Control, Treatment, Remedies and Medication for Dogs, Cats, Poultry and Humans
- Infestation in your home? Need Control? Visit our control pages
- Pictures, Treatments, Facts and Info about their Life Cycle and how they infect us!
What are Sea Lice?
The name 'Sea lice' can refer to one of two groups of organisms in the sea - the parasites that attack fish (such as salmon and trout) like the picture below, or the larva stage of sea life such as Jelly fish and anemones. Both forms of sea lice affect humans who spend time at sea (fishermen) or in the sea (swimmers), but neither in a pleasant way. We have separated some of the major facts about both types of sea lice, below. If you are going on a beach holiday where you know sea lice are prevalent, it is a good idea to educate yourself first so that your time away isn't spoilt.
Salmon Sea Lice
Sea lice (plural of sea louse) are copepods from the Order, Siphonostonmatoida. There are many different types of sea lice which strike and damage fish all over the world (certainly in fish farms), yet the majority of information and recent studies seem to relate to a particular species known as Lepeophtheirus salmonis, which attacks salmon found in the Atlantic Ocean. Sea lice are ectoparasites (live and feed on the outside of their host) that live in the sea and feed on the blood, mucus and tissue of marine fish. They can kill certain types of fish if the infestation is severe enough (larger fish cope with sea lice better than the majority of smaller fish) and chemicals have been developed to target and treat the sea lice so fish farms aren't ruined.
Sea Lice Bites
Little is known on how sea lice locate their hosts, but it is believed that light, temperature, currents and timing play a major part. An interesting fact is that when anadromous fish return to fresh water (like salmon do), the sea lice fall off and die. Sea lice have specially formed mouthparts shaped like a siphon to allow them to feed and antennaes/limbs to help attach them to the fish. The female sea louse is able to produce between 5 and 11 pairs of egg-strings (which have 500-1000 eggs on!) in their lifetime of roughly 7 months. Eggs hatch and go through various moult stages, but find their host by the third stage (copepodid stage). The sea lice attach themselves in an area with the least amount of hydrodynamic disturbance and feed before reaching the chalimus stage of their lifecycle. Four further moults take place before they reach adulthood.