From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Annual report of the New Jersey State Museum (1911) (19177922970).jpg
Pennella sagitta
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Euarthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Maxillopoda
Order: Siphonostomatoida
Family: Pennellidae
Genus: Pennella
Oken, 1815 [1]
Type species
Pennella diodontis
Oken, 1815

See text.


Pennella is a genus of large copepods which are common parasites of large pelagic fishes. They begin their life cycle as a series of free-swimming planktonic larvae. The females metamorphose into a parasitic stage when they attach to a host and enter into its skin. The males are free swimming. Due to their large size and mesoparasitic life history there have been a number of studies of Pennella, the members of which are among the largest of the parasitic Copepoda. All species are found as adults buried into the flesh of marine bony fish, except for a single species, Pennella balaenopterae which can be found in the muscles and blubber of cetaceans and occasionally other marine mammals,[2] and is the largest species of copepod.


Like most parasitic copepods it is the female which is parasitic in Pennella while the males are free swimming. The female has a two host life cycle and egg production commences when an inseminated female settles on its ultimate host, usually a large marine fish such as a member of the cod family Gadidae or tuna. The intermediate host is usually a flatfish or a cephalopod. Before the parasite settles on the intermediate host there are two free swimming or copepodid larval stages, after which it settles on the gill tips of the intermediate host as a sessile chalimus larva. After four chalimus stages on the intermediate host the parasite becomes sexually mature and the free swimming males begin to copulate with the females while they are still sessile, a week after attaining maturity the females leave the intermediate host. Whether or not the females have copulated they become free swimming and the males will inseminate free swimming females as well. After a brief period as a free swimming animal the female infects its ultimate host and begins its main period of adult growth and begins to release eggs into the water.[3]


The genus contains 15 species:[1]


  1. ^ a b c Geoff Boxshall & T. Chad Walter (2011). Walter TC, Boxshall G, eds. "Pennella Oken, 1815". World of Copepods database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  2. ^ Murray D. Dailey, Martin Haulena & Judy Lawrence (2002). "First report of a parasitic copepod (Pennella balaenopterae) infestation in a pinniped". Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 33 (1): 62–65. JSTOR 20096177. PMID 12216795.
  3. ^ S. Pascual, C. Gestal & E. Abollo (1997). "Effect of Pennella sp. (Copepoda, Pennellidae) on the condition of Illex coindetii and Todaropsis eblanae (Cephalopoda, Ommastrephidae)" (PDF). Bulletin of the European Assiciation of Fish Pathology. 17 (3–4): 91–95.

External links[edit]