The parasite fauna of the Patagonian toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides off the Falkland Islands

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The parasite fauna of juvenile Dissostichus eleginoides, while they inhabit the Falkland's shelf, was examined, giving new detailed information on spatial, ontogenic and seasonal variations. A total of 24,943 parasites from 15 different taxa were found in the stomach of 502 individual fish. Parasite species composition and abundance allowed separation of toothfish by area between the north-west and south-east of the Falklands. The digenean, Elytrophalloides oatesi, and the nematodes, Hysterothylacium spp. and Anisakis spp., were the most common, all with a prevalence >20%. For some seasons ontogenic changes in abundance were significant in these three parasite taxa, and this is discussed in terms of ontogenic and seasonal changes in diet. Elytrophalloides oatesi and Hysterothylacium spp. showed spatial and seasonal differences in abundance with greater numbers in the warmer waters of the north-west and during the summer months. Differences in abundance of E. oatesi between the Falklands and other regions indicate its potential for use as a biological tag to study toothfish movements and population structure; however, more seasonal data would be required before this technique could be used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-509
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Helminthology
Issue number4
Early online date25 Oct 2012
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

We gratefully acknowledge funding of this work by Consolidated Fisheries Limited and the invaluable assistance of the captain and crew of the CFL Gambler; without them this work would not have been possible. Thanks to J. Barton, Director of Fisheries, Falkland Islands Government Fisheries Department for supporting this work, and to the observers who helped collect samples at sea.


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