© 2017 Elsevier Ltd The parasite communities of sharks have been largely neglected despite the ecological importance and vulnerability of this group of fishes. The main goal of the present study is to describe the parasite communities of three deep-dwelling shark species in the NW Mediterranean. A total of 120 specimens of Galeus melastomus, 11 Etmopterus spinax and 10 Centroscymnus coelolepis were captured at 400–2200 m depth at two seasons and three localities off the mainland and insular slopes of the Balearic Sea. Environmental and fish biological, parasitological, dietary, enzymatic and histological data were obtained for each specimen, and the relationships among them tested. For G. melastomus, E. spinax and C. coelolepis a total of 15, two and eight parasite species were respectively recovered. The parasite community of G. melastomus is characterized by high abundance, richness and diversity, and the cestodes Ditrachybothridium macrocephalum and Grillotia adenoplusia dominate the infracommunities of juvenile and adult specimens, respectively. A differentiation of parasite communities, linked to a diet shift, has been observed between ontogenic stages of this species. E. spinax displays a depauperate parasite community, and that of C. coelolepis, described for the first time, shows moderate richness and diversity. Detailed parasite-prey relationships have been discussed and possible transmission pathways suggested for the three hosts. Parasites were mostly related to high water turbidity and O2 levels, which enhance zooplankton proliferation and could thus enhance parasite transmission. The nematodes Hysterothylacium aduncum and Proleptus obtusus were linked to high salinity levels, as already reported by previous studies, which are associated to high biomass and diversity of benthic and benthopelagic crustaceans. A decrease of acetylcholinesterase activity and lower hepatosomatic index, possibly linked to infection-related stress, have been observed. Lesions associated to encapsulated larvae of G. adenoplusia have been observed in the muscle of G. melastomus, especially in the tail region, which can be indicative of the hunting strategy of its final host and may compromise the escape response of G. melatomus thus facilitating parasite transmission.
|Journal||Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Nov 2017|
- Centroscymnus coelolepis
- Etmopterus spinax
- Galeus melastomus