DAO 63:185-195 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/dao063185

Anguillicola papernai (Nematoda: Anguillicolidae) and other helminths parasitizing the African longfin eel Anguilla mossambica

H. Taraschewski1,*, J. Boomker2, K. Knopf3, F. Moravec4

1Universität Karlsruhe, Zoologisches Institut – Ökologie/Parasitologie, Kaiserstrasse 12, 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany
2Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, 0110 Onderstepoort, Republic of South Africa
3Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Müggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin, Germany
4Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Parasitology, Branisovská 31, 37005 Ceské Budejovice, Czech Republic

ABSTRACT: The swim bladder nematode Anguillicola papernai Moravec & Taraschewski, 1988 has been investigated as regards its occurrence in longfin eels Anguilla mossambica (Peters) in rivers in South Africa. A. papernai revealed a prevalence of around 50% and a mean intensity of about 6 adult worms at 1 sampling site but were less abundant in 3 others. Field observations suggest a more narrow habitat preference than that of Anguillicola crassus and a seasonal pattern of abundance. African longfin eels harboured a poor helminth community. In addition to A. papernai, 2 gastro-intestinal nematodes occurred, the stomach worm Heliconema longissimum Ortlepp, 1923 as the dominant species, and the intestinal Paraquimperia africana Moravec, Boomker & Taraschewski, 2000. Experiments were undertaken using European eels Anguilla anguilla (Linnaeus) and copepods as laboratory hosts. The morphology of larvae and adult parasites obtained from these experimental hosts is described. The ultrastructure of adult worms recovered from wild longfin eels was studied. The ‘papilla-like excrescences of fibrous structure’ on the adult worms’ cuticle, as mentioned in the original description, are in fact the attachment points of thick cords of fibers interconnecting the epicuticle with the hypodermis. Such a structure has not yet been described from any other species of Anguillicola Yamaguti, 1935. At present in South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar attempts are on the way to establish an eel management like in Asia and Europe including eel farming. In this context, care should be taken to prevent the introduction of non-endemic eel parasites into Africa and Madagascar. On the other hand, the future commercial management of African eel species should not lead to the spread of A. papernai or other parasites of African eel species to Europe or elsewhere. In this study A. papernai has been experimentally demonstrated to be capable of reproducing in the European eel and of using European copepods as intermediate hosts.


KEY WORDS: Anguilla mossambica · Eel · Anguillicola papernai · Swim bladder · Copepods · Life cycle · Morphology · Ultrastructure · Eel culture


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