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Diversity and host specificity of monogenean gill parasites (Platyhelminthes) of cichlid fishes in the Bangweulu-Mweru ecoregion

  • M.W.P. Jorissen (a1) (a2), A. Pariselle (a3), T. Huyse (a1) (a4), E.J. Vreven (a1), J. Snoeks (a1) (a4), F.A.M. Volckaert (a4), A. Chocha Manda (a5), G. Kapepula Kasembele (a5), T. Artois (a2) and M.P.M. Vanhove (a1) (a2) (a4) (a6) (a7)...

This study represents the first exploration of the parasite fauna of cichlid fishes in the Mweru-Luapula subregion (Central Africa). Twelve species of cichlids and 14 species of Monogenea from three genera (Cichlidogyrus, Gyrodactylus and Scutogyrus) were collected. We present a first record of the gill parasite fauna of eight host species, Oreochromis mweruensis, Orthochromis sp. ‘Mambilima’, Sargochromis mellandi, Serranochromis angusticeps, S. stappersi, S. thumbergi and Tylochromis mylodon. The host range of ten parasite species was expanded. The study further includes the description of Cichlidogyrus consobrini sp. n. from S. mellandi and Orthochromis sp. ‘Mambilima’. A new morphotype of C. halli is characterized, and three species – C. papernastrema, C. quaestio and C. zambezensis – are redescribed. Furthermore, the biodiversity and host specificity of these parasites is compared with that of cichlid parasites from Lake Kariba and Cameroon. Two species, including C. consobrini sp. n. and a new morphotype of C. halli, are putative endemics. The parasite fauna in Bangweulu-Mweru is highly similar in species composition to Lake Kariba, but in Bangweulu-Mweru the same parasite species are more host-specific, probably because of hydrogeographical differences between the two regions.

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