Diversity of metazoan parasites of the African catfish Clarias gariepinus Burchell, 1822) as indicators of pollution in a subtropical African river system
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The relationship between parasite species diversity and organic pollution in the upper Manyame catchment, Zimbabwe, was investigated between October 2006 and January 2007. The parasite assemblage comprised 13 species in total. Species richness in the unpolluted sites was high; in the moderately polluted sites, it was low, while in the polluted sites, only one parasite species was encountered. Component community diversity, as measured by the Shannon index (H0), decreased with increase in organic pollution. The distribution and occurrence of ectoparasites (Dolops ranarum, Lamproglena clariae, Chonopeltis sp. and Macrogyrodactylus sp.) and one endoparasite (Lytocestus sp.) were limited to the unpolluted sites, demonstrating their sensitivity to organic pollution. The prevalence of the nematodes Paracamallanus cyathopharynx, Procamallanus laevionchus and Contracaecum spp. larvae decreased along the pollution gradient, showing their high sensitivity to organic pollution. The platyhelminths Diplostomum sp. and Polyonchobothrium clarias were the most tolerant and occurred at both polluted and unpolluted sites. Proteocephalus sp. and Caryophyllaeus sp. were limited to the polluted sites, probably as a result of high abundance of oligochaetes and copepods, their intermediate hosts that thrive in sewage-enriched sediments, at the downstream sites. The observed results assume that the decrease in parasite diversity can be related to increased organic pollution. Some parasites requiring complex life histories were absent along with pollution-related disappearance of their vector hosts. Further studies should address the identification of parasite life stages that are more sensitive to pollutants.
Additional Citation InformationJournal of Helminthology (2010) 84, 216–227 doi:10.1017/S0022149X09990563 Journal of Helminthology (2010) 84, 216–227 doi:10.1017/S0022149X09990563 Journal of Helminthology (2010) 84, 216–227 doi:10.1017/S0022149X09990563
Cambridge University Press 2009
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