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The relationship between developmental instability of gudgeon Gobio gobio and abundance or morphology of its ectoparasite Paradiplozoon homoion (Monogenea)

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Gudgeon Gobio gobio (Cyprinidae) were collected monthly from the Vlara Stream (Czech Republic) during 2004 and examined for the presence of the ectoparasite Paradiplozoon homoion (Diplozoidae; Monogenea). Over 26% of P. homoion showed abnormalities of the attachment sclerites, indicating either a stressful environment or that the quality of the fish host was suboptimal for parasite development. Here, the hypotheses that parasite abundance and the occurrence of morphological abnormalities are correlated with fluctuating asymmetry (FA, the random deviation from the perfect bilateral symmetry) in its fish host were tested. The FA and morphological abnormality are estimators of developmental instability. To estimate fish developmental instability nine meristic and two morphometric bilateral characters on the right and the left sides of the fish were measured. In general, there was no correlation between mean fish FA and parasite abundance or the proportion of parasites with abnormalities. There was, however, a significant relationship between the proportion of abnormal P. homoion and the number of asymmetric meristic traits per individual fish. This study thus indicates that developmental instability of P. homoion, measured as morphological abnormality of the attachment apparatus, is only weakly dependent on the fish quality as measured by FA.

Keywords: Paradiplozoon homoion; abnormality; developmental instability; fluctuating asymmetry; gudgeon; parasite

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway 2: Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic 3: Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Brno, Czech Republic

Publication date: 2007-11-01

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