Anisakis infection in allis shad, Alosa alosa (Linnaeus, 1758), and twaite shad, Alosa fallax (Lacépède, 1803), from Western Iberian Peninsula Rivers: zoonotic and ecological implications

M. Bao*, M. Mota, D. J. Nachón, C. Antunes, F. Cobo, M. E. Garci, G. J. Pierce, S. Pascual

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Spawning individuals of allis shad, Alosa alosa (Linnaeus, 1758), and twaite shad, Alosa fallax (Lacépède, 1803), were sampled from three rivers on the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula (Ulla, Minho, Mondego) during 2008 to 2013 to assess the presence of the zoonotic marine parasite Anisakis spp. larvae. The results revealed that both shad species were infected by third-larval stage Anisakis simplex s.s. and Anisakis pegreffii. The latter is reported in mixed infections in both shad species of Western Iberian Peninsula for the first time. In A. alosa, the prevalence of Anisakis infection can reach 100 %, while in A. fallax, prevalence was up to 83 %. Infected individuals of the former species also often contain much higher number of parasites in theirs internal organs and flesh: from 1 to 1138 Anisakis spp. larvae as compared to 1 to 121 larvae, respectively. In general, numbers of A. pegreffii were higher than those of A. simplex s.s. Our results suggest that in the marine environment of the Western Iberian Peninsula, both anadromous shad species act as paratenic hosts for A. simplex s.s. and A. pegreffii, thus widening the distribution of the infective nematode larvae from the marine to the freshwater ecosystem. This finding is of great epidemiological relevance for wildlife managers and consumers, considering the zoonotic and gastroallergic threats posed of these parasites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2143-2154
Number of pages12
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number6
Early online date27 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank M. N. Cueto and J.M. Antonio (ECOBIOMAR) for their excellent technical support and also Rodrigo López for making the map of the study area. We also thank the personal of the Vigo IEO, for providing information about shad captures at sea collected on the basis of national program (AMDES) included in the European Data Collection Framework (DCF) project. We are also grateful to Comandancia Naval de Tui for providing fishing data. M. Bao is supported by a PhD grant from the University of Aberdeen and also by financial support of the contract from the EU Project PARASITE (grant
number 312068). This study was partially supported by a PhD grant from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) SFRH/BD/44892/2008) and partially supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the COMPETE—Operational Competitiveness Programme and national funds through Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), under the project BPEst-C/MAR/ LA0015/2013. The authors thank the staff of the Station of Hydrobiology of the USC BEncoro do Con^ due their participation in the surveys. This work has been partially supported by the project 10PXIB2111059PR of the Xunta de Galicia and the project MIGRANET of the Interreg IV BSUDOE (South-West Europe) Territorial Cooperation Programme (SOE2/P2/E288). D.J. Nachón is supported by a PhD grant from the Xunta de Galicia (PRE/2011/198)


  • Alosa
  • Anadromous
  • Anisakis
  • Freshwater
  • Gastroallergic
  • Iberian Peninsula


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