Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 18, 2017

Ecological implications of floods on the parasite communities of two freshwater catfishes in a Neotropical floodplain

Priscilla de Oliveira Fadel Yamada, Fabio Hideki Yamada, Reinaldo José da Silva and Luciano Alves dos Anjos
From the journal Acta Parasitologica


The parasite communities of two freshwater catfishes (Auchenipterus osteomystax and Trachelyopterus galeatus) were analyzed during the dry and rainy seasons in a Neotropical floodplain. The nature of river-floodplain systems places specific demands on parasite community structure, due to changes in the host environment. It was therefore hypothesized that flood conditions lead to an increase in the richness and abundance of fish parasites in the rainy season at the mouth of Aguapeí River floodplain. The Auchenipterus osteomystax parasite community was richer (11 vs. eight) in species than T. galeatus, although the latter exhibited a greater parasite burden (F1,108 = 126.99, P<0.0001). During the rainy season both host species demonstrated high levels of parasitism (least squared means ± SE = 1.69 ± 0.05 vs. 1.34 ± 0.05; F1,108 = 21.45, P<0.0001). Differences were found in the composition of the parasite species and the proportion of parasites for each host species and between each seasonal period. Flood conditions during the rainy season caused a change in the composition and structure of the parasitic communities. The results corroborate the hypothesis that floods are one of the most significant influences on shaping the parasite communities of fish in floodplains. Our greatest concern is the reduction these dynamics and effects bring about on local biota and, consequently, in host-parasite interaction. We would therefore like to take this opportunity to warn environmental agencies and hydroelectric companies about the importance of the conservation of the diversity of this location.


We would like to thank the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (the São Paulo Research Foundation) (FAPESP) for the scholarship granted to P.O.F. Yamada (2013/25786-7) and F.H. Yamada (2011/22603-3; 2014/14298-4). R.J. da Silva was supported by CNPq (307808/2014-9) and CNPq-PROTAX (440496/2015-2) / FAPESP 2016/50377-1. We are grateful to the São Paulo Energy Company (CESP) for the facilities offered for the development of this work.


Bush A.O., Lafferty K.D., Lotz J.M., Shostak A.W. 1997. Parasitology meets ecology on its own terms: Margolis et al. revisited. The Journal of Parasitology, 83, 575–58310.2307/3284227Search in Google Scholar

Chubb J.C. 1977. Seasonal occurrence of helminths in freshwater fishes. Part I. Monogenea. Advances in Parasitology, 15, 133–19210.1016/S0065-308X(08)60528-XSearch in Google Scholar

Cohen S.C., Justo M.C.N., Kohn A. (Ed.). 2013. South american monogenoidea parasites of fishes, amphibians and reptiles. Rio de Janeiro, Oficina de Livros, pp. 662Search in Google Scholar

Cunico A.M., Graça W.J., Veríssimo S., Bini L.M. 2002. Influência do nível hidrológico sobre a assembléia de peixes em lagoa sazonalmente isolada da planície de inundação do alto rio Paraná. Acta Scientiarum Biological Sciences, 24, 383–389Search in Google Scholar

Dias M.L.G.G., Eiras J.C., Machado M.H., Souza G.T.R., Pavanelli G.C. 2003. The life cycle of Clinostomum complanatum Rudolphi 1814 (Digenea, Clinostomidae) at the floodplain of the high Paraná river, Brazil. Parasitology Research, 89, 506–50810.1007/s00436-002-0796-zSearch in Google Scholar PubMed

Eiras J.C., Takemoto R.M., Pavanelli G.C. (Ed.). 2006. Métodos de estudo e técnicas laboratoriais em parasitologia de peixes. Maringá, Eduem, pp. 199. (In Spanish)Search in Google Scholar

Esch G.W., Kennedy C.R., Bush A.O., Aho J.M. 1988. Patterns in helminth communities in freshwater fish in Great Britain: alternative strategies for colonization. Parasitology, 96, 519–53210.1017/S003118200008015XSearch in Google Scholar

Gaspar da Luz K.D., Oliveira E.F., Petry A.C., Júlio-Jr H.F., Pavanelli C.S., Gomes L.C. 2004. Fish Assemblages in the Upper Paraná River Floodplain. In: (Ed. A.A. Agostinho, L. Rodrigues, L.C. Gomes, S.M. Thomaz and L.E. Miranda) Structure and functioning of the Paraná River and its floodplain. EDUEM, Maringá, 107–113Search in Google Scholar

Graça W.J., Pavanelli, C.S. (Ed.). 2007. Peixes da planície de inundação do Alto rio Paraná e áreas adjacentes. Maringá, Eduem, pp. 241. (In Spanish)Search in Google Scholar

Hamilton W.J, Poulin R. 2001. Parasitism, water temperature and life history characteristics of the freshwater fish Gobiomorphus brevisceps Stokell (Eleotridae). Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 10, 105–110. 10.1034/j.1600-0633.2001.100205.xSearch in Google Scholar

Hammer Ø., Harper D.A.T., Ryan P.D. 2001. PAST: Paleontological statistics software package for education and data analysis. Palaeontologia Electronica, 4, pp. 9Search in Google Scholar

Hanek C, Fernando C.H. 1978. The role of season, habitat, host age and sex on gill parasitism of Lepomis gibbosus (L.). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 56, 1247–125010.1139/z78-178Search in Google Scholar

Hartvigsen R., Kennedy C.R. 1993. Patterns in the composition and richness of helminth communities in brown trout, Salmo trutta, in a group of reservoirs. Journal of Fish Biology, 43, 603–61510.1111/j.1095-8649.1993.tb00443.xSearch in Google Scholar

Janovy Jr J., Snyder S.D., Clopton R.E. 1997. Evolutionary constraints on population structure: the parasites of Fundulus zebrinus (Pisces: Cyprinodontidae) in the South Platte River of Nebraska. Journal of Parasitology, 83, 584–59210.2307/3284228Search in Google Scholar

Junk W.J., Bayley T.B., Sparks R.E. 1989. The flood pulse concept in river-floodplain-systems. Canadian Special Publications for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 106, 110–127Search in Google Scholar

Junk W.J., Wantzen K.M. 2004. The flood pulse concept: New aspects, approaches, and applications – an update. In: (Eds. R. Welcomme, T. Petr) Proceedings of the 2nd Large River Symposium (LARS), Pnom Penh, RAP Publication, Bangkok, 117–149Search in Google Scholar

Kadlec D, Šimková A, Jarkovský J., Gelnar M. 2003. Parasite communities of freshwater fish under flood condition. Parasitology Research, 89, 272–283. 10.1007/s00436-002-0740-2Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Kennedy C.R. 1978. An analysis of the metazoan parasitocoenoses of brown trout Salmo trutta from British lakes. Journal of Fish Biology, 13, 255–26310.1111/j.1095-8649.1978.tb03433.xSearch in Google Scholar

Kennedy C.R. 1997. Freshwater fish parasites and environmental quality: an overview and caution. Parassitologia, 39, 249–254Search in Google Scholar

Kennedy C.R., Hartvigsen R., Halvorsen O. 1991. The importance of fish stocking in the dissemination of parasites throughout a group of reservoirs. Journal of Fish Biology, 38, 541–55210.1111/j.1095-8649.1991.tb03141.xSearch in Google Scholar

Lafferty K.D. 2008. Ecosystem consequences of fish parasites. Journal of Fish Biology, 73, 2083–2093. 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2008.02059.xSearch in Google Scholar

Lafferty K.D., Kuris A.M. 1999. How environmental stress affects the impact of parasites. Limnology and Oceanography, 44, 925–93110.4319/lo.1999.44.3_part_2.0925Search in Google Scholar

Lowe-McConnell R.H. (Ed.). 1987. Ecological studies in tropical fish communities. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 38210.1017/CBO9780511721892Search in Google Scholar

Magurran A.E. (Ed.). 2004. Measuring biological diversity. Oxford, Blackwell Science, pp. 256Search in Google Scholar

Marcogliese D.J. 2004. Parasites: small players with crucial roles in the ecological theatre. EcoHealth, 1, 151–164. 10.1007/s10393-004-0028-3Search in Google Scholar

Marcogliese D.J. 2005. Parasites of the superorganism: Are they indicators of ecosystem health? International Journal for Parasitology, 35, 705–716. 10.1016/j.ijpara.2005.01.015Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Marcogliese D.J., Cone D.K. 1991. Important of lake characteristics in structuring parasite communities of salmonids from insular Newfoundland. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 69, 2962–296710.1139/z91-417Search in Google Scholar

Marcogliese D.J., Cone D.K. 1997. Parasite communities as indicators of ecosystem stress. Parassitologia, 39, 227–232Search in Google Scholar

Mesquita R.L.B., Azevedo R.K., Abdallah V.D., Luque J.L. 2011. Ectoparasites as numerical dominant species in parasite community of Trachelyopterus striatulus (Siluriformes: Auchenipteridae) from Guandu River, southeastern Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 71, 623–62710.1590/S1519-69842011000400006Search in Google Scholar

Monteiro C.A.F. (Ed.). 1973. A dinâmica climática e as chuvas do estado de São Paulo: estudo geográfico sob forma de atlas. São Paulo: IGEOG, pp. 130. (In Spanish)Search in Google Scholar

Moravec F. (Ed.). 1998. Nematodes of freshwater fishes of the Neotropical region. Czech Republic, Academia Praha, 464 pp.Search in Google Scholar

Okada E.K., Agostinho A.A., Petrere Jr. M., Penczak T. 2003. Factors affecting fish diversity and abundance in drying ponds and lagoons in the upper Paraná River basin, Brazil. Ecohydrology and Hydrobiology, 3, 97–110Search in Google Scholar

Oliveira E.F., Luiz E.A., Agostinho A.A., Benedito-Cecilio E. 2001. Fish assemblages in littoral areas of the upper Paraná river floodplain, Brazil. Acta Scientiarum Biological Sciences, 23, 369–376Search in Google Scholar

Pavanelli G.C., Machado M.H., Takemoto R.M. 1997. Fauna helmíntica de peixes do rio Paraná, região de Porto Rico, Paraná. In: (Eds. A.E.A.M. Vazzoler, A.A. Agostinho, N.S. Hahn). A Planície de inundação do Alto rio Paraná: aspectos físicos, biológicos e socioeconômicos. EDUEM, Maringá, 307–329. ( In Spanish)Search in Google Scholar

Pavanelli G.C., Machado M.H., Takemoto R.M., Guidelli G.M., Lizama M.A.P. 2004. Helminth fauna of fishes: diversity and ecological aspects. In: (Eds S.M. Thomaz, A.A. Agostinho, N.S. Hahn) The upper Paraná River and its Floodplain: physical aspects, ecology and conservation. Backhuis Publishers, Leiden, 309–329Search in Google Scholar

Petry A.C., Agostinho A.A., Gomes L.C. 2003. Fish assemblages of tropical floodplain lagoons: exploring the role of connectivity in a dry year. Neotropical Ichthyology, 1, 111–11910.1590/S1679-62252003000200005Search in Google Scholar

Poulin R. 1995. Phylogeny, ecology, and the richness of parasite communities in vertebrates. Ecological Monographs, 65, 283–30210.2307/2937061Search in Google Scholar

Poulin R. 1997. Species richness of parasite assemblages: evolution and patterns. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 28, 341–358. 10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.28.1.341Search in Google Scholar

Poulin R. 2003. The decay of similarity with geographical distance in parasite communities of vertebrate hosts. Journal of Biogeography, 30, 1609–1615. 10.1046/j.1365-2699.2003.00949.xSearch in Google Scholar

Poulin R., Morand S. 1999. Geographical distances and the similarity among parasite communities of conspecific host population. Parasitology, 119, 369–374. 10.1017/S0031182099004795Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Power M.E., Sun A., Parker G., Dietrich W.E., Wootton J.T. 1995. Hydraulic Food-chain Models: an approach to the study of food-web dynamics in large rivers. Bioscience, 45, 159–16710.2307/1312555Search in Google Scholar

Rocha P.C., Tommaselli J.T.G. 2012. Variabilidade hidrológica nas bacias dos rios Aguapeí e Peixe, região oeste paulista. Revista Brasileira de Climatologia, 10, 69–84. (In Spanish)10.5380/abclima.v10i1.30588Search in Google Scholar

Soininen J., Mcdonald R., Hillebrand H. 2007. The distance decay of similarity in ecological communities. Ecography, 30, 3–12. 10.1111/j.2006.0906-7590.04817.xSearch in Google Scholar

Statsoft Inc. (Ed.). 2005. Statistica (data analysis software system), version 7.1Search in Google Scholar

Takemoto R.M., Pavanelli G.C. 1996. Proteocephalidean Cestodes in the Freshwater Fish Cichla monoculus from the Paraná River, Brazil. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 31, 123–12710.1076/snfe. in Google Scholar

Takemoto R.M., Pavanelli G.C., Lizama M.A.P., Lacerda A.C.F., Yamada F.H., Moreira L.H.A., et al. 2009. Diversity of parasites of fish from the Upper Paraná River floodplain, Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 69, 691–705. 10.1590/S1519-69842009000300023Search in Google Scholar

Tavares L., Luque J.L. 2008. Similarity between metazoan parasite communities of two sympatric brackish fish species from Brazil. Journal of Parasitology, 94, 985–989. 10.1645/GE-1460.1Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Tavares-Dias M., Oliveira M.S.B., Gonçalves R.A., Silva L.M.A. 2014. Ecology and seasonal variation of parasites in wild Aequidens tetramerus, a Cichlidae from the Amazon. Acta Parasitologica, 59, 158–164. 10.2478/s11686-014-0225-3Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Thatcher V.E. (Ed.). 2006. Amazon fish parasites. Sofia, Bulgaria, Pensoft Publishers, pp. 508Search in Google Scholar

Thomaz S.M., Bini, L.M., Bozelli R.L. 2007. Floods increase similarity among aquatic habitats in river-floodplain systems. Hydrobiologia, 579, 1–13. 10.1007/s10750-006-0285-ySearch in Google Scholar

Yamada F.H., Takemoto R.M., Pavanelli G.C. 2007. Ecological aspects of ectoparasites from the gills of Satanoperca pappaterra (Heckel, 1840) (Cichlidae) from the upper Paraná river floodplain, Brazil. Acta Scientiarum Biological Sciences, 29, 33–33610.4025/actascibiolsci.v29i3.555Search in Google Scholar

Zar J.H. (Ed.) 2010. Biostatistical analysis. New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, Inc., pp. 663Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2016-8-11
Revised: 2017-1-6
Accepted: 2017-1-10
Published Online: 2017-4-18
Published in Print: 2017-6-1

© 2017 W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS