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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 30, 2014

Parasite communities of the elongate tigerfish Hydrocynus forskahlii (Cuvier 1819) and redbelly tilapia Tilapia zillii (Gervais 1848) from Lake Turkana, Kenya: influence of host sex and size

Elick O. Otachi, Beata Szostakowska, Franz Jirsa and Christine Fellner-Frank
From the journal Acta Parasitologica


Fish is an important food source for an estimated 300,000 people inhabiting the shores of Lake Turkana, Kenya. Despite its large size (7560 km2) and importance, the lake remains one of the least studied in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. This study describes the parasite community of the elongate tigerfish Hydrocynus forskahlii (Cuvier, 1819) and the redbelly tilapia Tilapia zillii (Gervais, 1848). A total of 87 individuals (43 H. forskahlii and 44 T. zillii) were dissected and examined for parasites. Two taxa infected H. forskahlii, the dominant one being an anisakid nematode Contracaecum sp. (L3) (P = 83.7%, mean intensity (MI) = 46.0, abundance (A) = 38.5). Twelve parasite taxa were recovered from T. zillii, with metacestodes of the gryporhynchid cestode Amirthalingamia macracantha being dominant (P = 79.5, MI = 10.3, A = 8.2). This was the first report of a mixture of merocercoids and plerocercoids in the same host. Fish size was positively correlated with the major parasite infection levels, but, the prevalence of Contracaecum sp. in H. forskahlii was negatively correlated with size, probably reflecting ontogenetic shifts in habitats and diets with age. Fish sex was not a significant influencing factor, with the exception of Contracaecum sp. in H. forskahlii, where prevalence differed significantly between sexes (p<0.05), with the females having a higher prevalence than the males. We conclude that H. forskahlii had a poor parasitic community but that the infection levels with Contracaecum sp. were high. T. zillii had a rich parasite fauna, although, most parasites occurred at low intensities.


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Received: 2014-4-16
Revised: 2014-6-23
Accepted: 2014-8-12
Published Online: 2014-12-30
Published in Print: 2014-3-1

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