DAO 123:45-54 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03081

Intestinal helminth fauna of the shortfin mako Isurus oxyrinchus (Elasmobranchii: Lamnidae) in the northeast Atlantic Ocean

Jaime Penadés-Suay1,*, Jesús Tomás1, Manuel Merchán2, Francisco Javier Aznar1

1Marine Zoology Unit, Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia, 46980 Paterna (Valencia), Spain
2Asociación Chelonia, 28027 Madrid, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Large oceanic sharks represent a suitable model to investigate the influence of a host’s oceanic conditions on the structure of its helminth communities. In this study, we describe the intestinal helminth fauna, and investigate determinants of infracommunity structure, in 39 specimens of shortfin mako Isurus oxyrinchus collected in the NE Atlantic. Six cestode species were found in the spiral valve of makos: 3 are typical from lamnid sharks, namely, gravid specimens of Clistobothrium montaukensis, Gymnorhynchus isuri and Ceratobothrium xanthocephalum, and 3 are immature specimens of cestode species common to several elasmobranchs, namely, Dinobothrium septaria, Nybelinia lingualis, and Phyllobothrium cf. lactuca. In addition, L3 larvae of Anisakis sp. type I were detected. Infracommunities were species poor and had low total helminth abundance. The result of Schluter’s variance ratio test was compatible with the hypothesis of independent colonization of helminth taxa. These results conform to previous studies on oceanic predators that have hypothesized that these hosts should have depauperate and unpredictable helminth infracommunities because oceanic conditions hamper parasite transmission. However, mean species richness and mean total abundance of cestodes of shortfin mako and other oceanic sharks did not significantly differ from those of elasmobranchs from other habitats. This suggests that the large body size and prey consumption rates of oceanic sharks offset the negative ‘dilution’ effect of oceanic habitat on transmission rates. Additionally, or alternatively, parasites of oceanic sharks may have expanded the use of intermediate hosts through the trophic web to spread out the risk of failure to complete their life cycles.


KEY WORDS: Isurus oxyrinchus · Helminth fauna · Parasites · Infracommunity · Species richness · Pelagic · Oceanic


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Cite this article as: Penadés-Suay J, Tomás J, Merchán M, Aznar FJ (2017) Intestinal helminth fauna of the shortfin mako Isurus oxyrinchus (Elasmobranchii: Lamnidae) in the northeast Atlantic Ocean. Dis Aquat Org 123:45-54. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03081

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