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Four-year monitoring of parasite communities in gobiid fishes of the southwest Baltic

III. Parasite species diversity and applicability of monitoring

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The parasite infrapopulations of five goby species (Pomatoschistus minutus, P. pictus, P.microps, Gobiusculus flavescens and Gobius niger) were investigated during spring, summer and autumn of the years 1997–2000. In total, 34 parasite species were found: 17 Digenea, 6 Nematoda, 5 Cestoda, 3 Acanthocephala, 2 Protozoa, and 1 Monogenea. The dominant parasites were the digeneans Podocotyle atomon and Cryptocotyle concavum, which represent different ecological groups in terms of their modes of transmission, either indirectly by prey or directly by larvae. The relationship between the parasite Cryptocotyle concavum and the host P. microps is a special one which results in a mean intensity of several hundred cysts (max. 1,329) which settle in the kidney. The diversity of the parasite component community was highest in autumn, but low in spring and summer, with the exception of P. microps for which high values were already found in spring when direct parasites were disregarded. These results depend on the respective seasonal variation in species, some of which occur in huge numbers in some hosts. The diversity of the prey parasite assemblage is higher in Pomatoschistus microps and Gobius niger than in the whole parasite spectrum; the other hosts present the opposite trend. A combination of the island theory of biogeography as modified for parasite infection with the theory of screens and filters leads to a model which considers three handicaps or distances for parasite colonisation: genetic, phylogenetic and ecological. Long-term investigations, as performed here over a time-span of 4 years, can detect more than 80% of parasite species in single hosts after 3 years, and in the whole goby guild after 2 years. Long-term investigations can be useful for finding rare parasites, in analysing parasite diversity, and for determining the seasonality of parasites.

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I wish to thank Kristina Barz for pre-preparing with great accuracy the fish material from 1997 and 1998, and Maria Machola for doing this for the years 1999 and 2000. For accompanying and support under water I am thankful to Kristina Barz, Inga Nordhaus, Judith Voce and, especially, to Dr. Uwe Strohbach who caught a greater part of the fish investigated, and for drawing Fig. 9 Monika Hänel.

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Correspondence to C. Dieter Zander.

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Zander, C.D. Four-year monitoring of parasite communities in gobiid fishes of the southwest Baltic. Parasitol Res 95, 136–144 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-004-1252-z

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  • Parasite Species
  • Parasite Community
  • Final Host
  • Parasite Number
  • Gobiid Fish