The parasitic copepod Haplostomides hawaiiensis (Cyclopoida) from the invasive ascidian Polyclinum constellatum in the southern Gulf of California
Based on a set of samples of the benthic fauna from several sites in the harbor area of Mazatlán, in the southern Gulf of California, Mexico, we report the occurrence of the non-indigenous invasive ascidian Polyclinum constellatum Savigny, 1816. It is recorded together with the parasitic cyclopoid copepod Haplostomides hawaiiensis Ooishi, 1994, originally described from hawaii and not recorded thenceforth. The female specimens recorded from the Gulf of California were morphologically analyzed with SEM and compared with the original description. These are the first quantitative data about the infection prevalence, abundance, and intensity of H. hawaiiensis in P. constellatum. This is also the first record of this copepod outside its type locality and the first record of the genus from the tropical region of continental America. The reduced host range of H. hawaiiensis, restricted to this invasive tropical ascidian, is here confirmed. The finding of P. constellatum represents the second exotic ascidian species recorded in the Mazatlán area; it was collected from artificial substrates only but it is predicted to invade natural habitats in other areas of the eastern tropical pacific, together with its parasitic copepod. The spread and ecological effects of this invasion deserve further study.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2010-07-01
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