Short operculum – Gross Pathology

Figure 1. Severe opercular erosion in farmed rainbow trout.

Bone deformities occur regularly in fish farms around the world. The operculum is one of the earliest craniofacial bones to form embryologically and is subject to a range of developmental and acquired abnormalities. Opercular shortening is one of the most prevalent diseases in larval and juvenile salmonids (and other species), sometimes affecting up to 80% of fish in a population. In those species that rely on the operculum to help move water over the gills, loss of efficiency in this part of the pumping mechanism...