Macroparasites of allis shad (Alosa alosa) and twaite shad (Alosa fallax) of the Western Iberian Peninsula Rivers: ecological, phylogenetic and zoonotic insights

M Bao, A. Roura, M. Mota, D. J. Nachn, C. Antunes, F. Cobo, K MacKenzie, S. Pascual

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Samples of anadromous Alosa alosa (Clupeidae) (n = 163) and Alosa fallax (Clupeidae) (n = 223), caught in Western Iberian Peninsula Rivers from 2008 to 2013, were examined for buccal, branchial and internal macroparasites, which were identified using morphological and molecular methods. Alosa alosa were infected with Anisakis simplex s.s., Anisakis pegreffii, Hysterothylacium aduncum, Rhadinorhynchus pristis, Mazocraes alosae, Hemiurus appendiculatus, Ceratothoa italica and an unidentified ergasilid copepod. Ceratothoa italica represents a new host record for A. alosa. Alosa fallax were infected with A. simplex s.s., A. pegreffii, H. aduncum, H. appendiculatus, Clavellisa emarginata and an unidentified cymothoid isopod. This is the first report of C. italica, C. emarginata and M. alosae in the Iberian Peninsula. The phylogenetic positions of M. alosae, H. appendiculatus and C. emarginata were assessed using 18S and 28S ribosomal RNA (rRNA); our contributions provide a better understanding of the phylogenetic relationships within their groups. Qualitative and quantitative differences in the parasite faunas of these two shad species are consistent with different feeding strategies. The results provide information about host migration behaviour and transmission pathways through diet during the marine trophic phase of the shad's life cycle and their roles as paratenic or final hosts and transporters of parasites between seawater and freshwater environments. The zoonotic parasites A. simplex s.s. and A. pegreffii pose a risk for consumers or riverine mammals (e.g. European otter). The use of parasites as biological tags for shad stocks in Western Iberian Rivers could be a useful approach in multidisciplinary studies concerning fish stock delimitation and characterization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3721-3739
Number of pages19
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number10
Early online date5 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

The authors sincerely thank M.N. Cueto, J.M. Antonio and M.E. Garci of the ECOBIOMAR group at IIM-CSIC for molecular analysis, technical support and quality images of some parasites. 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). A. Roura is supported by Fundación Barrié de la Maza postdoctoral fellowship and a Securing Food, Water and the Environment Research Focus Area grant (La Trobe University). This study was partially supported by a PhD grant from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (SFRH/BD/4892/2008) and partially supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the COMPETE—Operational Competitiveness Programme and national funds through FCT—Foundation for Science and Technology, under the project PEst-C/MAR/LA0015/2013. The authors thank the staff of the Station of Hydrobiology of the USC Encoro do Con^ due their participation in the surveys, with special mention to J. Sánchez for separating digenean fauna existing in the stomachs of A. fallax. This work has been partially supported by the project 10PXIB2111059PR of the Xunta de Galicia and the project MIGRANET of the Interreg IV B SUDOE (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 spp
  • macroparasites
  • Anisakis spp
  • phylogeny
  • freshwater
  • Iberian Rivers
  • life-cycle
  • Nyctiphanes-Couchii
  • Northeast Atlantic
  • intermediate host
  • genetic-structure
  • 1905 Digenea
  • NE Atlantic
  • Baltic Sea
  • NW Spain
  • platyhelminthes


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