DAO 54:243-251 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/dao054243

Host-parasite relationships: occurrence and effect of the parasitic isopod Mothocya epimerica on sand smelt Atherina boyeri in the Mesolongi and Etolikon Lagoons (W. Greece)

Ioannis Leonardos1,*, Jean-Paul Trilles2

1Biological Applications and Technology Department, University of Ioannina, 45110 Ioannina, Greece
2Laboratoire d┬╣Ecophysiologie des Invertébres, Université de Montpellier 2, Sciences et Techniques du Languedoc CP 092, Place E. Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France

ABSTRACT: The parasite-host relationship between Mothocya epimerica, Costa 1851 (Isopoda: Flabellifera: Cymothoidae) and sand smelt Atherina boyeri (Osteichthyes: Atherinidae) fish populations were studied in the Mesolongi and Etolikon Lagoons (W. Greece). Prevalence varied during the year from 12.5% in November to 52.5% in September; overall mean prevalence was 41.9%. Parasite size increased with host size. Infections did not have a significant effect on the host┬╣s body condition, such as length-weight relationship, gonadosomatic index, hepatosomatic index and relative condition factor. Histological damage to the host was observed on the gills (especially in the second and third and arches upon which the female parasite rests her abdomen). The physiological cost resulting from this infection seems to be little and probably does not constitute a serious threat for individual host survival.


KEY WORDS: Mothocya epimerica · Isopoda · Cymothoidae · Atherina boyeri · Atherinidae · Parasite · Host-parasite relationships


Full text in pdf format