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Brazilian Journal of Biology

Print version ISSN 1519-6984On-line version ISSN 1678-4375


TAVARES, L. E. R.  and  LUQUE, J. L.. Community ecology of the metazoan parasites of white sea catfish, Netuma barba (Osteichthyes: Ariidae), from the coastal zone of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2004, vol.64, n.1, pp.169-176. ISSN 1519-6984.

Between March 2000 and April 2001, 63 specimens of N. barba from Angra dos Reis, coastal zone of the State of Rio de Janeiro (23°0'S, 44°19'W), Brazil, were necropsied to study their infracommunities of metazoan parasites. Fifteen species of metazoan parasites were collected: 2 digeneans, 1 monogenean, 2 cestodes, 1 acantocephalan, 2 nematodes, 6 copepods, and 1 hirudinean. Ninety-six percent of the catfishes were parasitized by at least one metazoan parasite species. A total of 646 individual parasites was collected, with mean of 10.3 ± 16.6 parasites/fish. The copepods were 37.5% of the total parasite specimens collected. Lepeophtheirus monacanthus was the most dominant species and the only species with abundance positively correlated with the host total length. Host sex did not influence parasite prevalence or mean abundance of any species. The mean diversity in the infracommunities of N. barba was H = 0.130 ± 0.115 with no correlation with host's total length and without differences in relation to sex of the host. One pair of endoparasites (Dinosoma clupeola and Pseudoacanthostomum floridensis) showed positive association and covariation between their abundances and prevalences. The parasite community of N. barba from Rio de Janeiro can be defined as a complex of species with low prevalence and abundance and with scarcity of interspecific associations. However, because of both the presence of assemblages of sympatric ariid species as well as the spawning behavior characteristic of these fishes, additional comparative studies of the parasite component communities of ariids are necessaries to elucidate this pattern.

Keywords : parasite ecology; community structure; marine fish; Ariidae; Netuma barba; Brazil.

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