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The metazoan parasites of swordfish from Atlantic tropical–equatorial waters

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Abstract:

The metazoan parasite fauna composition of the swordfish Xiphias gladius is reported from 145 (72 females and 73 males) specimens caught in Atlantic tropical–equatorial waters during June to July 2006 and August 2007. Seventeen metazoan taxa (two monogeneans, two digeneans, one acanthocephalan, four cestodes, seven nematodes and one copepod) were identified by morphological and genetic methodologies. Among those identified, Anisakis brevispiculata, Anisakis paggiae and the acanthocephalan Bolbosoma vasculosum are new host records. Dominant species were: the anisakid nematode larvae Anisakis physeteris, Anisakis brevispiculata, Hysterothylacium incurvum and Hysterothylacium corrugatum (s.l.), the adult cestode Fistulicola plicatus, the plerocercoid Hepatoxylon squali and the monogeneans Tristoma integrum and Tristoma coccineum, which showed high prevalences and intensities. The relationship between metazoan parasites and host size and sex was investigated for the first time. No statistically significant correlation was found between host sex and parasite burden. Infection levels with T. integrum and T. coccineum were observed to be significantly negatively correlated to host size. Infection levels by endoparasites observed in X.gladius from Atlantic tropical-equatorial area may be related to host feeding behaviour and the availability of the parasites’ intermediate and final hosts in the area studied. Anisakids of the genus Anisakis, were identified genetically to species level, and were considered to be promising biological tags for the characterization of X.gladius stocks.

Keywords: Xiphias gladius; host sex; host size

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2008.02072.x

Affiliations: 1: INRB, I.P./L - IPIMAR, Avenida 5 de Outubro s/n, 8700-305 Olhão, Portugal, 2: Department of Ecology and Sustainable Economic Development, Tuscia University, Viale dell’Università s/n 01100 Viterbo, Italy 3: Department of Public Health Sciences, Section of Parasitology, Sapienza-University of Rome, P. le Aldo Moro, 5, 00185 Rome, Italy

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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