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Acta Parasitologica

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Volume 62, Issue 2 (Jun 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
  • CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Campus Agrário de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-261 Vairão, Portugal
/ Ana Veríssimo
  • CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Campus Agrário de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-261 Vairão, Portugal
  • VIMS, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, Route 1208, Greate Road, Gloucester Point, VA 23062, USA
/ Pedro Cardoso
  • CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Campus Agrário de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-261 Vairão, Portugal
/ Jo Cable
  • School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF10 3AX, UK
/ Raquel Xavier
  • Corresponding author
  • CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Campus Agrário de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-261 Vairão, Portugal
  • Email:
Published Online: 2017-04-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ap-2017-0055


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.

Keywords: Scyliorhinus canicula; parasite trophic transmission; ontogenic feeding behaviour


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About the article

Received: 2016-07-19

Revised: 2016-12-07

Accepted: 2016-12-27

Published Online: 2017-04-18

Published in Print: 2017-06-01

Citation Information: Acta Parasitologica, ISSN (Online) 1896-1851, ISSN (Print) 1230-2821, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ap-2017-0055. Export Citation

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