DAO 74:225-233 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/dao074225

Parasite fauna of bream Abramis brama and roach Rutilus rutilus from a man-made waterway and a freshwater habitat in northern Germany

Sonja Rückert1,2,*, Sven Klimpel1, Harry Wilhelm Palm1

1Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Institute of Zoomorphology, Cell Biology and Parasitology, Universitätsstr. 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
2Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Fahrenheitstr. 6, 28359 Bremen, Germany

ABSTRACT: Fifty specimens each of bream Abramis brama and roach Rutilus rutilus were examined for metazoan parasite fauna and trichodinid ciliates; 25 specimens of each species were collected from the Kiel Canal, a man-made waterway, and a nearby freshwater lake, the Dieksee. This is the first detailed parasitological examination of A. brama and R. rutilus at these locations: 30 parasite species were found, comprising 4 protozoans, 4 myxozoans, 5 digeneans, 3 monogeneans, 2 cestodes, 6 nematodes, 2 acanthocephalans, 3 crustaceans and 1 hirudinean. The crustacean Caligus lacustris occurred in both habitats while 2 other crustacean species, 2 acanthocephalans and 1 hirudinean were recorded exclusively for the lake habitat. Larval as well as adult stages of the different parasite species were found, indicating that both fish species act as intermediate and final hosts in both habitats. The Kiel Canal (total of 17 parasite species) showed a lower parasite species richness for A. brama and R. rutilus (14 and 10 parasite species, respectively) than the lake (25 parasite species). A. brama had a higher parasite richness (22 species) than R. rutilus (16 species) in the lake habitat. Most parasites collected were of freshwater origin. Consequently, the observed infection pattern of both fish species in the waterway is mainly influenced by the limited salinity tolerance of freshwater parasites, which are negatively affected even by a salinity of 2.3 to 4.5. In the central Kiel Canal, neither fish species was infected with marine parasites of low host specifity. These parasites are either limited by the low salinity at this sampling site (<4.5 to 6.0) or they cannot enter the canal due to the environmental conditions prevailing in this artificial brackish water habitat. Thus, the canal may comprise a natural barrier preventing the distribution of North Sea parasites into the Baltic Sea. However, the brackish water Baltic Sea nematodes Paracuaria adunca and Cosmocephalus obvelatus were found in R. rutilus from the canal, demonstrating the ability of some parasite species to invade and extend their range of distribution through this man-made shipping route from the Baltic to the North Sea.

KEY WORDS: Kiel Canal · Waterway · Abramis brama · Rutilus rutilus · Parasite distribution · Salinity tolerance · Germany

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