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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 129:215-238 (2018)  -  DOI:

Changes in parasite-chaetognath species assemblages in the Mexican Central Pacific before and during El Niño 1997-1998

Horacio Lozano-Cobo1, Jaime Gómez-Gutiérrez1,*, Carmen Franco-Gordo2, María del Carmen Gómez del Prado-Rosas3, Viridiana Plascencia-Palomera2, Israel Ambriz-Arreola2

1Departamento de Plancton y Ecología Marina, Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Av. IPN s/n, La Paz, BCS 23096, Mexico
2Departamento de Estudios para el Desarrollo Sustentable de Zonas Costeras, Centro Universitario de la Costa Sur, Universidad de Guadalajara, Gómez Farías 82, San Patricio Melaque, Jalisco 48980, Mexico
3Laboratorio de Parasitología, Departamento Académico de Ciencias del Mar y de la Tierra, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, Apdo. Postal 19-B, La Paz, BCS 23080, Mexico
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: We investigated the seasonal and interannual changes in diversity, abundance, and prevalence of chaetognaths and their parasites collected monthly during 1996-1998 in the Mexican Central Pacific. We tested the hypothesis of a positive relationship between abundance and species richness of chaetognaths and their parasites, and investigated the influence of the 1997-1998 El Niño event on this host-parasite interaction. Of the 9 chaetognath species collected in the present study, only 7 were found to be parasitized. Of 78154 chaetognath specimens collected, 790 were parasitized (1% prevalence) with at least 1 type of epibiont (cysts, perhaps protists) and 6 types of endoparasites: protists (apicomplexans, dinoflagellates, and ciliates), digeneans, cestodes, acanthocephalans, nematodes, and other unidentified endoparasites. Cysts, digeneans, and cestodes were the most abundant parasites. Mean intensity ranged from 1-4 endoparasites and from 1-21 epibionts host-1. Zonosagitta bedoti and Flaccisagitta enflata were the most abundant chaetognath species and had the highest parasite diversity. Mesosagitta minima and Parasagitta euneritica had the highest parasite prevalence (>2%). A 2-way cluster analysis defined sampling month groups as before, during, and after the 1997-1998 El Niño. The highest abundances of chaetognaths and parasites were associated with a high thermal stratification index, salinity, and mixed layer depth. We conclude that there is a positive, non-linear correlation between the abundance of chaetognaths and their parasites. Although El Niño decreased the abundance and diversity of chaetognaths throughout the time series, the abundance and diversity of their parasites were not significantly different among hydro-climatic periods, suggesting that host abundance must decrease orders of magnitude to influence host availability for parasites.

KEY WORDS: Protists · Platyhelminthes · Acanthocephalans · Nematodes · Larval stages · Infracommunity · Component community

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Cite this article as: Lozano-Cobo H, Gómez-Gutiérrez J, Franco-Gordo C, Gómez del Prado-Rosas MC, Plascencia-Palomera V, Ambriz-Arreola I (2018) Changes in parasite-chaetognath species assemblages in the Mexican Central Pacific before and during El Niño 1997-1998. Dis Aquat Org 129:215-238.

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