The parasite fauna of juvenile Dissostichus eleginoides, while they inhabit the Falkland's shelf, was examined, giving new detailed information on spatial, ontogenic and seasonal variations. A total of 24,943 parasites from 15 different taxa were found in the stomach of 502 individual fish. Parasite species composition and abundance allowed separation of toothfish by area between the north-west and south-east of the Falklands. The digenean, Elytrophalloides oatesi, and the nematodes, Hysterothylacium spp. and Anisakis spp., were the most common, all with a prevalence >20%. For some seasons ontogenic changes in abundance were significant in these three parasite taxa, and this is discussed in terms of ontogenic and seasonal changes in diet. Elytrophalloides oatesi and Hysterothylacium spp. showed spatial and seasonal differences in abundance with greater numbers in the warmer waters of the north-west and during the summer months. Differences in abundance of E. oatesi between the Falklands and other regions indicate its potential for use as a biological tag to study toothfish movements and population structure; however, more seasonal data would be required before this technique could be used.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology