The European eel may tolerate multiple infections at a low biological cost

Elvira Mayo-Hernández, Emmanuel Serrano, Jose Peñalver, Alfonsa García-Ayala, Rocío Ruiz De Ybáñez, Pilar Muñoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015. Most animals are concurrently infected with multiple parasites, and interactions among them may influence both disease dynamics and host fitness. However, the sublethal costs of parasite infections are difficult to measure and the effects of concomitant infections with multiple parasite species on individual physiology and fitness are poorly described for wild hosts. To understand the costs of co-infection, we investigated the relationships among 189 European eel (Anguilla anguilla) from Mar Menor, parasites (richness and intensity) and eel's 'health status' (fluctuant asymmetry, splenic somatic index and the scaled mass index) by partial least squares regression. We found a positive relationship with 44% of the health status variance explained by parasites. Contracaecum sp. (Nematoda: Anisakidae) was the strongest predictor variable (44·72%) followed by Bucephalus anguillae (Platyhelminthes: Bucephalidae), (29·26%), considered the two most relevant parasites in the analysis. Subsequently, 15·67 and 12·01% of the response variables block were explained by parasite richness and Deropristis inflata (Platyhelminthes: Deropristiidae), respectively. Thus, the presence of multiple parasitic exposures with little effect on condition, strongly suggests that eels from Mar Menor tolerate multiparasitism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)968-977
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2015


  • body scaled mass
  • co-infection
  • eel
  • fluctuant asymmetry
  • multiparasitism
  • splenic somatic index
  • teleost


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