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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 403:1-11 (2010)  -  DOI:

The Anisakis simplex complex off the South Shetland Islands (Antarctica): endemic populations versus introduction through migratory hosts

Sven Klimpel1,*, Markus W. Busch2, Thomas Kuhn1, Anika Rohde2, Harry W. Palm2

1Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Georg-Voigt-Str. 14–16, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2Institute of Zoomorphology, Cell Biology and Parasitology, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany

ABSTRACT: Third-stage larvae (L3) of 2 Anisakis nematode species, A. simplex C and A. pegreffii (both A. simplex sibling species complex), were isolated from migrating myctophids around the South Shetland Islands. Gymnoscopelus nicholsi were parasitized by both nematode species, at a prevalence of 22.7% for A. simplex C and 4.0% for A. pegreffii, while Electrona carlsbergi harbored A. simplex C at a prevalence of 9.1%. The ITS-1, 5.8S, and ITS-2 regions of the nematodes were identical to specimens from Pacific Canada or California (A. simplex C) and the coast of China (A. pegreffii), confirming an extensive range of distribution for both species. The occurrence in migrating myctophids coupled with rare findings from other teleosts leads to the conclusion that both species were introduced from outside the Antarctic. Consequently, they are at their most southern range in the Southern Ocean, and an earlier molecular record of A. simplex C from the elephant seal Mirounga leonina may have detected an accidental case of infection. Delphinids, which frequently occur along South America but not in the Southern Ocean, are suggested as being the typical final hosts in the life cycles of A. simplex C and A. pegreffii. The myctophids had only few prey items within their stomachs, dominated by euphausiids, including Euphausia superba and planktonic copepods. These are common intermediate hosts for anisakid nematodes and are an important component of the Antarctic food web. Regular introduction events through migrating whales and myctophids are considered responsible for the occurrence of Anisakis infection in the high Antarctic.

KEY WORDS: Anisakis simplex C · Anisakis pegreffii · South Shetland Islands · Southern Ocean (Antarctica) · Myctophids · Sibling species · Zoogeography

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Cite this article as: Klimpel S, Busch MW, Kuhn T, Rohde A, Palm HW (2010) The Anisakis simplex complex off the South Shetland Islands (Antarctica): endemic populations versus introduction through migratory hosts. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 403:1-11.

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