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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 129:175-182 (2018)  -  DOI:

Helminth parasites of the dwarf sperm whale Kogia sima (Cetacea: Kogiidae) from the Mediterranean Sea, with implications on host ecology

M. Santoro1,*, F. Di Nocera1, D. Iaccarino1, P. Cipriani2,3, I. Guadano Procesi4, F. Maffucci5, S. Hochscheid5, C. Blanco6, A. Cerrone1, G. Galiero1, G. Nascetti4, S. Mattiucci2

1Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Mezzogiorno, 80055 Portici, Italy
2Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Section of Parasitology, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
3Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Norden, 5817 Bergen, Norway
4Department of Ecological and Biological Sciences, Tuscia University, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
5Marine Turtle Research Center, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, 80055 Portici, Italy
6Unitat de Zoologia Marina, Institut Cavanilles de Biodiversitat i Biologia Evolutiva, Universitat de València, 46071 Valencia, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Limited data exist on the occurrence of the dwarf sperm whale Kogia sima in the Mediterranean Sea and its parasite fauna. Here, the occurrence of the anisakid species Anisakis physeteris and A. pegreffii in the stomach chambers of an adult female dwarf sperm whale, stranded in southern Italy, is reported. In addition, the occurrence of Phyllobothrium delphini larvae infecting the blubber of the caudal peduncle region was recorded. A. physeteris and A. pegreffii represent the 2 parasite species of the genus, mostly distributed in the Mediterranean Sea in fish and squids. The finding of A. pegreffii and A. physeteris in the dwarf sperm whale represents a new record in this host species for the Mediterranean Sea. The study of gastrointestinal content also revealed a massive presence of cephalopod beaks identified as belonging to pelagic squids including the umbrella squid Histioteuthis bonnellii, the reverse jewel squid H. reversa, the long-armed squid Chiroteuthis veranii, and the comb-finned squid Ctenopteryx sicula. The feeding habits of the dwarf sperm whale, as well as the occurrence of these squid residuals in the cetacean host, suggest that these squid species play a major role in maintaining the life cycle of anisakid parasite species and P. delphini.

KEY WORDS: Kogia sima · Mediterranean Sea · Anisakis physeteris · Anisakis pegreffii · Phyllobothrium delphini · Squid beaks · Host ecology

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Cite this article as: Santoro M, Di Nocera F, Iaccarino D, Cipriani P and others (2018) Helminth parasites of the dwarf sperm whale Kogia sima (Cetacea: Kogiidae) from the Mediterranean Sea, with implications on host ecology. Dis Aquat Org 129:175-182.

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