Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Proctophantastes nettastomatis (Digenea: Zoogonidae) from Vanuatu deep-sea fish: new morphological features, allometric growth, and phenotypic plasticity aspects


The present paper deals with Proctophantastes nettastomatis (Digenea: Zoogonidae; Lepidophyllinae) found in the intestine of three species of deep-sea fish, Dicrolene longimana (Ophidiidae, Ophidiiformes), Bathyuroconger sp. (Congridae, Anguilliformes), and Venefica tentaculata (Nettastomatidae, Anguilliformes). The fish were collected near the islands of Espiritu Santo, Erromango, and Epi, respectively, in the archipelago of Vanuatu (Southern Pacific Ocean) at depths ranging from 561 to 990 m. Morphological and histological analyses showed that the Vanuatu specimens differ from Proctophantastes abyssorum, Proctophantastes gillissi, Proctophantastes glandulosum, Proctophantastes infundibulum, and Proctophantastes brayi but are close to P. nettastomatis discovered in Suruga Bay, Japan. P. nettastomatis is redescribed based both on the observations of our specimens and of the Japanese holotype and paratype. The morphological variability of the species is described. Morphometric data allowed the identification of positive allometric growth for the hindbody, negative allometric growth for the ventral sucker, and a growth phenotypic plasticity between Ophidiiformes and Anguilliformes definitive hosts.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7


  1. Bray RA (2004) The bathymetric distribution of the digenean parasites of deep-sea fishes. Folia Parasitol 51:268–274

  2. Bray RA (2008) Family Zoogonidae. In: Bray RA, Gibson DI, Jones A (eds) Keys to the Trematoda, vol 3. CABI Publishing and Natural History Museum, Wallingford, pp 609–629

  3. Bray RA, Gibson DI (1986) The Zoogonidae (Digenea) of fishes from the northeast Atlantic. Bull Br Mus Nat Hist Zool 51:127–206

  4. Byrd MA (1964) Neosteganoderma glandulosa gen. n., sp. n. (Trematoda: Steganodermatidae) from an Atlantic fish. Proc Helminthol Soc Wash 31:105–108

  5. Fischthal JH (1978a) Allometric growth in three species of digenetic trematodes of marine fishes from Belize. J Helminthol 52:29–39

  6. Fischthal JH (1978b) Allometric growth in four species of digenetic trematodes of marine fishes from Belize. Zool Scr 7:13–18

  7. Fischthal JH (1980) Comparative allometric growth of the digenetic trematode Matadena globosa (Linton, 1910) Manter, 1947 (Cryptogonimidae) in three species of Caribbean fishes. J Parasitol 66:642–644

  8. Heidenhain M (1915) Über die mallorysche bindegewebsfärbjung mit karmin und azokarmin als vorfarben. Z Wiss Mikrosk Mikrosk Tech 32:361–372

  9. Huxley JS (1932) Problems of relative growth. Lincoln MacVeagh, The Dial Press, New York

  10. Kamegai S (1973) Zoogonid trematodes from marine fishes near the Tsushima islands in the sea of Japan. Res Bull Meguro Parasitol Mus 7:19–23

  11. Langeron M (1949) Précis de microscopie. Masson & Cie, Paris

  12. Machida M, Kamegai S, Kuramochi T (2006) Zoogonidae (Trematoda, Digenea) from fishes of japanese waters. Bull Natl Sci Mus ser A 32(3):95–104

  13. Mouahid A (1989) Szidatia joyeuxi (Trematoda: Cyathocotylidae): morphological and tegumental changes during growth in the definitive host. Syst Parasitol 13:125–134

  14. Mouahid G, Casanova JC, Moné H (1997) Plasticidad fenotipica y determinacion sistematica de parasitos: el caso de Echinoparyphium elegans. Acta Parasitologica Portuguesa 4:127

  15. Mouahid G, Faliex E, Allienne JF, Cribb TH (2008) Proctophantastes brayi, n. sp. (Digenea: Zoogonidae) parasite of the deep-sea fish Polymixia Lowe, 1838 from Vanuatu. Parasitol Int 57:25–31. doi:10.1016/j.parint.2007.07.002

  16. Odhner T (1911) Zum natürlichen system der digenen Trematoden II. Zool Anz 37:237–253

  17. Overstreet RM, Pritchard MH (1977) Two new zoogonid Digenea from deep-sea fishes in the gulf of Panama. J Parasitol 63:840–844

  18. Richer de Forges B, Faliex E, Menou JL (1996) La campagne Musorstom 8 dans l'archipel de Vanuatu Compte rendu et liste des stations. Mem Mus Natl Hist Nat 168:9–32

  19. Yamaguti S (1970) Digenetic trematodes of Hawaiian fishes. Keigaku Publishing Company, Tokyo

  20. Yamaguti S (1971) Synopsis of the digenetic trematodes of vertebrates. Volumes 1 and 2. Keigaku Publishing Company, Tokyo

Download references


We are grateful to B. Richer de Forges (IRD, Nouméa, New Caledonia), B. Seret (Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris France), and the crew members of the NO Alis for their help in collecting and/or identifying the fish species. We gratefully thank Miss Anne Modat for documentary assistance, Dr. Patricia A. Pilitt (US National Parasite Collection), and Dr. Takashi IWAKI (Meguro Parasitological Museum, Tokyo Japan).

Author information

Correspondence to Gabriel Mouahid.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mouahid, G., Faliex, E., Allienne, J. et al. Proctophantastes nettastomatis (Digenea: Zoogonidae) from Vanuatu deep-sea fish: new morphological features, allometric growth, and phenotypic plasticity aspects. Parasitol Res 110, 1631–1638 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-011-2674-z

Download citation


  • Ventral Sucker
  • Oral Sucker
  • Excretory Pore
  • Ejaculatory Duct
  • Seminal Receptacle