Parasites of three closely related Antarctic fish species (Teleostei: Nototheniinae) from Elephant Island

  • Background: Studies of parasite communities and patterns in the Antarctic are an important knowledge base with the potential to track shifts in ecological relations and study the effects of climate change on host–parasite systems. Endemic Nototheniinae is the dominant fish group found in Antarctic marine habitats. Through their intermediate position within the food web, Nototheniinae link lower to higher trophic levels and thereby also form an important component of parasite life cycles. The study was set out to gain insight into the parasite fauna of Nototheniops larseni, N. nudifrons and Lepidonotothen squamifrons (Nototheniinae) from Elephant Island (Antarctica). Methods: Sampling was conducted at three locations around Elephant Island during the ANT-XXVIII/4 expedition of the research vessel Polarstern. The parasite fauna of three Nototheniine species was analysed, and findings were compared to previous parasitological and ecological research collated from a literature review. Results: All host species shared the parasites Neolebouria antarctica (Digenea), Corynosoma bullosum (Acanthocephala) and Pseudoterranova decipiens E (Nematoda). Other parasite taxa were exclusive to one host species in this study. Nototheniops nudifrons was infected by Ascarophis nototheniae (Nematoda), occasional infections of N. larseni with Echinorhynchus petrotschenkoi (Acanthocephala) and L. squamifrons with Elytrophalloides oatesi (Digenea) and larval tetraphyllidean Cestoda were detected. Conclusion: All examined fish species’ parasites were predominantly euryxenous regarding their fish hosts. The infection of Lepidonotothen squamifrons with Lepidapedon garrardi (Digenea) and Nototheniops larseni with Echinorhynchus petrotschenkoi represent new host records. Despite the challenges and limited opportunities for fishing in remote areas, future studies should continue sampling on a more regular basis and include a larger number of fish species and sampling sites within different habitats.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Author:Katharina AltORCiDGND, Sarah CunzeORCiDGND, Judith KochmannORCiD, Sven KlimpelORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Acta parasitologica
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/07/17
Date of first Publication:2021/07/17
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/10/20
Tag:Antarctic parasites; Demersal fish; Marine food webs; Southern Ocean
Page Number:15
First Page:218
Last Page:232
Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität
Fachübergreifende Einrichtungen / Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F)
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0