Metazoan Parasite Infracommunities of the ToadfishAphos porosus(Pisces: Batrachoidiformes) in Central Chile: How Variable Are They over Time?

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Abstract

The present study examines variation in parasite community characteristics of the toadfish Aphos porosus across sampling years. We analyzed and compared the species composition and numeric descriptors of the parasite infrapopulations and infracommunities in 101 fish collected during the springs of 1999, 2006, and 2007 from rocky intertidal ponds in El Tabo, central Chile. Parasites were found in 94.1% of specimens necropsied. In total 5,532 parasites were collected, representing 12 taxa, of which 7 were found in the 3 annual samples. The most prevalent and abundant parasites in the 3 sampling years were larval tetraphyllidean cestodes, followed by anisakid nematodes. The community descriptors of average richness and abundance varied significantly across the 3 yr, with the exception of parasite dominance. The parasite species composition and relative abundance showed low variability among years. A few parasite taxa (Anisakis sp., Pseudoterranova sp., tetraphyllideans, and Clestobothrium crassiceps) dominated the infracommunities of the toadfish; however, tetraphyllideans were the parasites that greatly varied over time. Consequently the parasite infracommunities of the toadfish were variable among years, with a low variation in parasite composition, but large differences in the aggregate descriptors.

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