Folia Parasitologica, vol. 63 (2016)

Folia Parasitologica 63:004 (2016) | 10.14411/fp.2016.004

Seasonal occurrence and microhabitat specificity of Paradiplozoon ichthyoxanthon Avenant-Oldewage in Avenant-Oldewage et al., 2014 (Monogenea: Diplozoidae) infecting Labeobarbus aeneus (Burchell) (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) from the Vaal Dam, South Africa: water quality and host size as determining factors?

Beric M. Gilbert, Annemariè Avenant-Oldewage
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

This is the first study detailing the microhabitat specificity of the monogenean parasite, Paradiplozoon ichthyoxanthon Avenant-Oldewage in Avenant-Oldewage et al., 2014. Samples of the monogenean were collected from the gills of the smallmouth yellowfish Labeobarbus aeneus (Burchell) from the Vaal Dam, South Africa, over four seasons with the use of gill nets. Host condition factor fluctuated between the different seasons, with the highest values recorded in summer. Adults and diporpas of P. ichthyoxanthon were found in all four seasons. Adult parasites predominantly infect the first gill arch, whereas diporpas were found on the second and fourth arches. In utero eggs were also found throughout the sampling seasons and their number negatively correlated with the condition factor of the host. The occurrence of adults and diporpas of P. ichthyoxanthon correlated with the size of the host but not the condition factor. Water quality of the study site also had little correlational relationship with the occurrence of the parasites and fluctuations were related to season. The main factor that may drive the microhabitat specificity of P. ichthyoxanthon is the flow of water over the surfaces of the gills and chances of the parasites becoming dislodged. Size of the attachment organs has also been shown to play a role in this specificity, because smaller attachment structures favour stronger holdfast to areas where flow might be stronger compared to larger attachment structures.

Keywords: ectoparasite, ecology, seasonality, smallmouth yellowfish, gill arch, epidemiology

Received: August 22, 2015; Accepted: November 24, 2015; Published online: February 9, 2016


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