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Gaining insights into the ecological role of the New Zealand sole (Peltorhamphus novaezeelandiae) through parasites

  • T. Anglade (a1) and H.S. Randhawa (a2)

Despite the fact that tapeworms comprise the bulk of parasite communities of sharks in marine ecosystems, little is known about their life cycles and, more specifically, about the potential intermediate hosts they utilize as transmission routes. In the absence of morphological features required for specific identification of larval tapeworms from potential intermediate hosts, recent molecular advances have contributed to linking larval and adult parasites and, in some instances, uncovering unknown trophic links. Host–parasite checklists are often the first source of information consulted to assess the diversity and host specificity of parasites, and provide insights into parasite identification. However, these host–parasite checklists are only useful if they encompass the full spectrum of associations between hosts and parasites. A checklist of New Zealand fishes and their parasites has been published, but recent parasitological examinations of commercial fish species reveal that the checklist appears to be far from complete. We focused our current study on a comprehensive survey of macroparasites of a commercial species, the New Zealand sole (Peltorhamphus novaezeelandiae) off the coast of Otago, New Zealand. Specifically, we were expecting to recover marine tapeworms using sharks as their definitive hosts that are generally underreported in parasite surveys. The parasites recovered included tapeworms, flukes, round worms and thorny-headed worms. Surprisingly, a large proportion of the non-tapeworm parasites we recovered were not previously reported from this fish species. A discussion on the potential ecological roles played by this fish species in the transmission of parasites is included.

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Current addresses: Directorate of Natural Resources, Fisheries Department, Falkland Islands Government, Bypass Road, Stanley, Falkland Islands, FIQQ 1ZZ; South Atlantic Environmental Institute, Stanley Cottage, Stanley, Falkland Islands, FIQQ 1ZZ; New Brunswick Museum, 277 Douglas Avenue, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, E2 K 1E5.

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Journal of Helminthology
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  • EISSN: 1475-2697
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