The parasite community of Phycis blennoides (Brünnich, 1768) from the Balearic Sea in relation to diet, biochemical markers, histopathology and environmental variables

Sara Dallarés, Catalina M. Moyà-Alcover, Francesc Padrós, Joan E. Cartes, Montserrat Solé, Carlota Castañeda, Maite Carrassón

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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd The greater forkbeard Phycis blennoides is a benthopelagic fish distributed in the Mediterranean and NE Atlantic. The main goal of this study is to describe the complete parasite community of this species, which is at present unknown. A total of 188 specimens of P. blennoides were captured in the Balearic Sea (NW Mediterranean Sea) at 550–1250 m depth during the four seasons of 2007, in summer of 2010 and in summer and autumn of 2011 at five distinct localities off the mainland slope off Catalonia coasts and off the insular slope off the Balearic Islands. Environmental and fish biological, parasitological, dietary, enzymatic and histological data were obtained and the relationships among them tested. A total of 20 different parasites were recovered, of which 11 constitute new host records. The most important parasites were the monogenean Diclidophora phycidis, the digeneans Bathycreadium brayi and Lepidapedon spp., the nematodes Capillaria gracilis, Collarinema collaris, Cucullanus sp. and Hysterothylacium aduncum, and the copepod Clavella alata. Overall, the parasite community of P. blennoides was characterized by high abundance, richness and diversity. Significant differences in the structure of the parasite community were detected between samples from <1000 to >1000 m depth and between samples from off the mainland and insular slopes. Significant seasonal and/or geographical differences were found for some specific parasites. Abundance of the nematode C. collaris was associated to high levels of turbidity and O2 concentrations near the bottom. Abundances of H. aduncum, D. phycidis, B. brayi and Lepidapedon spp. were linked to high near-bottom temperature and salinity. Dietary analyses evidenced the role as potential intermediate hosts in parasite transmission by some prey (e.g. the teleost Gaidropsarus biscayensis for the cestode Grillotia cf. erinaceus and the nematodes Anisakis spp. or the euphausiid Meganyctiphanes norvegica for the acanthocephalan Echinorhynchus sp.). While the abundance of B. brayi, C. collaris, Cucullanus sp. and Echinorhynchus sp. was negatively linked to acetylcholinesterase activity (AChE), the abundance of Echinorhynchus sp. and H. aduncum correlated positively with lipid peroxidation levels. Cysts of unknown etiology in fish gills were detected at higher prevalence than in any other fish from the same area. Number and area of hepatic macrophage centres varied significantly among seasonal and geographical groups and seemed not significantly influenced by parasite infection levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-100
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Biomarkers
  • Deep-sea
  • Diet
  • Mediterranean
  • Parasites
  • Phycis blennoides


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