DAO 71:101-108 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/dao071101

Occurrence of Anguillicola crassus (Nematoda: Dracunculoidea) in Japanese eels Anguilla japonica from a river and an aquaculture unit in SW Taiwan

M. Münderle1,*, H. Taraschewski1, B. Klar2, C. W. Chang3, J. C. Shiao3, K. N. Shen3, J. T. He3, S. H. Lin3, W. N. Tzeng3

1Zoologisches Institut, Ökologie/Parasitologie and, 2Institute for Mathematical Stochastics, Universität Karlsruhe, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
3Institute of Fisheries Sciences, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan 106, ROC

ABSTRACT: The infection by swimbladder nematodes of the genus Anguillicola (Dracunculoidea: Anguillicolidae) was examined in 2 populations of the Japanese eel Anguilla japonica in SW Taiwan. Wild eels from the Kao-Ping river were compared with cultured eels from an adjacent aquaculture unit. Only the cosmopolitan species Anguillicola crassus was present. Among wild eels, prevalence of infection varied between 21 and 62%, and mean intensity between 1.7 and 2.7 for adult worms. Similar intensity values (1.3 to 2.8) were recorded for the larvae. In cultured eels, prevalence as well as mean intensities were higher. In the cultured hosts, mean larval intensities exceeded those of adult worms 2-fold, and maximum larval intensities were 4- to 5-fold higher than in eels from the river. In cultured eels, dead larvae were also more abundant than in wild eels. We conclude that infrapopulations of A. crassus in Japanese eels are regulated by the defense system of this host, intraspecific density-dependent regulation being less likely as the major regulatory mechanism. No influence of the parasite on eel condition was found in either wild or cultured eels, indicating a low or moderate pathogenic effect of A. crassus on this host. This study shows that A. crassus is moderately common in cultured and wild Japanese eels in Taiwan, where the parasite is endemic.

KEY WORDS: Anguillicola crassus · Anguilla japonica · Swimbladder · Taiwan · Aquaculture

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