The distribution of the ectoparasite fauna of Sebastes capensis from the southern hemisphere does not correspond with zoogeographical provinces of free-living marine animals
We examined the ectoparasite fauna of Sebastes capensis over almost all its geographical distribution range (Chilean, Argentinean and South African coasts) to determine (1) whether the ectoparasites of this host show a zoogeographical pattern and, if so, (2) how this pattern is related to known zoogeographical patterns for free-living organisms. Location
Fish were captured from 20, 24, 30, 33, 36, 40, 45 and 52° S along the Chilean coast; 11° S on the Peruvian coast; 43° S on the Argentina coast; and 34° S on the South African coast. Methods
From April to September 2003 and from April to August 2004, 626 fish were captured. The parasites were collected using standard parasitological techniques. At the component community level, zoogeographical distribution patterns were evaluated using cluster analysis. At the infra-community level, patterns of similarity in parasite composition among localities were investigated with multivariate discriminant analyses. Results
The ectoparasite fauna of S. capensis consists of six species distributed along the whole of the Chilean coast. Four other species are distributed only within the transitional zone between the northern warm temperate region (Peruvian faunistic province), extending from Peru to the northern Chilean coast up to c. 30° S, and the cold temperate region (Magellanic faunistic province). The component communities from latitudes 30 to 40° S showed higher ectoparasite species richness, while localities on the margins of the geographical range showed lower species richness. Cluster analysis indicated a grouping of localities consistent with the transitional zone. Argentina and South Africa always emerged as separate localities. Main conclusions
The ectoparasite communities of S. capensis do not follow a distributional pattern concordant with the known biogeographical zones for invertebrates and/or fish along the south-eastern Pacific. Therefore their ectoparasite fauna is not useful as a zoogeographical indicator, although it does allow us to distinguish the transitional zone of the south-eastern Pacific. On a more extended geographical scale, it is possible to distinguish the ectoparasite communities of S. capensis in the south-eastern Pacific (as a whole) from those of Argentina and South Africa.