08 July 2010

Where’s Olive?

Helen Lockhart
Olive, our giant short-tail stingray. Photograph by Karin Schwerm

Regular visitors to the Aquarium may be wondering why they haven’t seen Olive, our giant short-tail stingray, for a while. Normally a resident of the I&J Predator Exhibit, Olive is currently being treated in quarantine for parasites.

Just as you have to treat your pets at home against fleas, so too do we, protecting our animals against all sorts of pesky bugs to ensure that they remain in peak condition.
Olive was removed from the I&J Predator Exhibit just over two weeks ago when aquarists noticed that she wasn’t feeding. Sure enough, in her gills they found Heterocotyle tokoloshei, a kind of parasite discovered and named after the tokolosh – a mischievous water sprite or domestic dwarf – by David Vaughan, the Aquarium’s researcher in aquatic animal health

These nasty parasites attack the gill tissue and, if untreated, can kill the host animal. Fortunately, thanks to the research being done by David, we now know about these parasites and their life cycle and can apply the correct treatment.

Under David’s supervision, Olive is receiving an oral de-worming therapy and has responded well to the treatment. Her appetite is back and she is feeding well.

She will return to centre stage in the I&J Predator Exhibit in approximately two months’ time.

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