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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 134:65-74 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03360

Occurrence of Anisakis spp. (Nematoda: Anisakidae) in a pygmy sperm whale Kogia breviceps (Cetacea: Kogiidae) in Australian waters

Shokoofeh Shamsi1,*, Cleide Spröhnle-Barrera2, Md. Shafaet Hossen1

1School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia
2Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Werribee, VIC 3030, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Little is known about parasitism in the pygmy sperm whale Kogia breviceps. Here, the occurrence of 3 anisakid species in a female pygmy sperm whale found stranded at Baxter’s Beach, Australia, is reported, along with histopathological findings from this whale. Thirty-nine nematodes were submitted to the Parasitology Laboratory of Charles Sturt University for identification, where 37 of them were identified to species level as Anisakis berlandi (n = 13), A. brevispiculata (n = 19), and A. paggiae (n = 5), using a combined molecular and morphological approach. This is the first report of A. paggiae in Australian waters. The other 2 specimens were Anisakis spp. females but could not be identified to species level due to a lack of taxonomically important features. ITS sequence data for these 2 specimens were considerably different from one another and from previously known Anisakis spp. The nomenclatures of the new species remain pending until male adults are found and described. The histopathological findings in the present study suggest that despite occurring in large numbers, Anisakis spp. do not have an adverse impact on the host’s stomach; however, the damaged intestinal mucosa and floating eggs found during histopathological examination of the intestinal tissue suggest that these parasites can have an adverse impact on the host’s intestine, which may lead to malnutrition and stress.


KEY WORDS: Histopathology · Marine mammals · Parasites


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Cite this article as: Shamsi S, Spröhnle-Barrera C, Shafaet Hossen M (2019) Occurrence of Anisakis spp. (Nematoda: Anisakidae) in a pygmy sperm whale Kogia breviceps (Cetacea: Kogiidae) in Australian waters. Dis Aquat Org 134:65-74. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03360

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