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

Infection of the lesser spotted dogfish with Proleptus obtusus Dujardin, 1845 (Nematoda: Spirurida) reflects ontogenetic feeding behaviour and seasonal differences in prey availability

Carlota Silva, Ana Veríssimo, Pedro Cardoso, Jo Cable and Raquel Xavier
From the journal Acta Parasitologica


Proleptus obtusus Dujardin, 1845 is the most common parasite infecting the gut of the lesser spotted dogfish (Scyliorhinus canicula, Linnaeus). This nematode is trophically transmitted from an intermediate crustacean host to the definitive elasmobranch host. Sexual and age-related differences in habitat occupancy and feeding behaviour of the lesser spotted dogfish make this parasite-host dyad ideal for testing which aspects of host biology influence parasite transmission. Here, the relationship between P. obtusus burden and host condition, sex and age were investigated in lesser spotted dogfish captured in the Northeast Atlantic. Prevalence of P. obtusus was of 94.8% with a mean abundance of 23.3 worms per host. Our results indicate that parasite burden is best explained by the interaction between ontogenetic differences in foraging behaviour of the lesser spotted dogfish and seasonal differences in prey availability.


The authors would like to thank Dr Antigoni Kaliontzopoulou for all the help regarding the statistical analysis. The authors would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for all the comments which helped improve this manuscript. This work was partially funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through COMPETE program and by National Funds through FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology (projects EXPL/MAR-BIO/1034/2012, PTDC/MAR-BIO/4458/2012 and FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER- 029939); and partially funded by Norte Portugal Regional Operational Programme (NORTE 2020), under the PORTUGAL 2020 Partnership Agreement, through ERDF under project MarInfo (NORTE-01- 0145-FEDER- 000031). RX and AV are supported by FCT under the Programa Operacional Potencial Humano – Quadro de Referência Estratégico Nacional funds from the European Social Fund and Portuguese Ministério da Educação e Ciência (RX. IF-FCT contract IF/00359/2015; AV post-doctoral grant SFRH/BPD/77487/2011).


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Received: 2016-7-19
Revised: 2016-12-7
Accepted: 2016-12-27
Published Online: 2017-4-18
Published in Print: 2017-6-1

© 2017 W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS