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The life cycle of Paraquimperia tenerrima: a parasite of the European eel Anguilla anguilla

  • J.A. Shears (a1) and C.R. Kennedy (a1)

Abstract

Previous studies on the life history of the nematode eel specialist Paraquimperia tenerrima (Nematoda: Quimperiidae) have failed to determine whether an intermediate host is required in the life cycle. In the laboratory, eggs failed to hatch below 10°C, hatching occurring only at temperatures between 11 and 30°C. Survival of the free-living second stage larvae (L2) was also temperature dependent, with maximal survival between 10 and 20°C. Total survival of the free-living stages (eggs and L2) is unlikely to exceed a month at normal summer water temperatures, confirming that parasite could not survive the 6 month gap between shedding of eggs in spring and infection of eels in early winter outside of a host. Eels could not be infected directly with L2, nor could a range of common freshwater invertebrate species. Third stage larvae (L3) resembling P. tenerrima were found frequently and abundantly in the swimbladder of minnows Phoxinus phoxinus from several localities throughout the year and were able to survive in this host in the laboratory for at least 6 months. Third stage larvae identical to these larvae were recovered from minnows experimentally fed L2 of P. tenerrima, and eels infected experimentally with naturally and experimentally infected minnows were found to harbour fourth stage larvae (L4) and juvenile P. tenerrima in their intestines. Finally, the whole life cycle from eggs to adult was completed in the laboratory, confirming that minnows are an obligate intermediate host for P. tenerrima.

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*Author for correspondence Fax: +44 (0)1392 264389 E-mail: C.R.Kennedy@exeter.ac.uk

References

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The life cycle of Paraquimperia tenerrima: a parasite of the European eel Anguilla anguilla

  • J.A. Shears (a1) and C.R. Kennedy (a1)

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