DAO 88:225-233 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02166

Epidemiology and pathology of Anguillicoloides crassus in European eel Anguilla anguilla from the Tagus estuary (Portugal)

Ana Filipa Neto1, José Lino Costa1, Maria José Costa1,2, Isabel Domingos1,2,*

1Centro de Oceanografia and 2Departamento de Biologia Animal, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Infection of the European eel Anguilla anguilla by the swimbladder nematode Anguillicoloides crassus was investigated for the first time at 5 sampling sites in the Tagus estuary (Portugal). A total of 332 yellow eels were examined, revealing a prevalence of 56% and a mean intensity of 3.2 lumen worms per swimbladder. The effect of the host’s sex and size on parasitism descriptors was studied. Only total length (TL) was considered a significant determinant, with larger eels harbouring a higher number of nematodes. Eels were parasitized in 4 of the 5 sampling sites, with prevalence values following the salinity gradient along the Tagus estuary. No signs of the nematode were observed in the most saline site. Variations in the intensity of infection were only apparent when a large geographic scale including a wide temperature range was considered. Although 68% of the analysed eels showed pathological damage to the swimbladder caused by the parasite, injuries were relatively reduced in comparison with other studies. No effect of the infection on the condition of the body and on liver condition was detected. However, considerable spleen enlargement was observed with increasing parasite load, which could be related to the bloodsucking activity of this nematode.


KEY WORDS: European eel · Swimbladder nematode · Sexual, ontogenic, and spatial variation · Infection · Host condition · Portugal


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Cite this article as: Neto AF, Costa JL, Costa MJ, Domingos I (2010) Epidemiology and pathology of Anguillicoloides crassus in European eel Anguilla anguilla from the Tagus estuary (Portugal). Dis Aquat Org 88:225-233. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02166

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