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Metazoan parasites in an intermediate host population near its southern border: the common cockle (Cerastoderma edule) and its trematodes in a Moroccan coastal lagoon (Merja Zerga)

  • Mériame Gam (a1), Hocein Bazaïri (a1), K. Thomas Jensen (a2) and Xavier de Montaudouin (a3)

Abstract

The metazoan parasite community of Cerastoderma edule was studied in the southern geographical range of the host (the coastal lagoon Merja Zerga, Morocco). A total of 11 metazoan species was found in cockles. Nine of these were trematodes using cockles as either first intermediate host (three species) or second intermediate host (six species). In addition, two other endo-metazoan species (Pinnotheres pisum and Paravortex cardii) were recorded from cockles in the studied lagoon. All the observed metazoans in cockles from Merja Zerga have previously been recorded at sites north of Africa.

Up to 10% of the cockles in the studied size-groups were first intermediate hosts to castrating parasites (Gymnophallus choledochus, Labratrema minimus and Monorchis parvus). Among trematodes having metacercariae in cockles (second intermediate host) Meiogymnophallus minutus was the most widespread as it was observed in all cockles from all the examined habitats in the lagoon and it occurred in record high intensities. Different sub-communities of the trematode fauna using cockles as second intermediate host could be identified (subtidal vs intertidal associations).

The richness and species composition of the macroparasite community in cockles from Morocco are discussed in relation to patterns seen in cockles from other sites along their geographical range. Migratory fish and waterbirds (final hosts) are generally responsible for the large scale spread (latitudinal spread) of trematodes. However, the distributional patterns of involved intermediate hosts in the life-cycles of the different trematode species in cockles are determining the richness and species composition patterns seen in cockles at shallow water sites along the east Atlantic shoreline.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Xavier de Montaudouin Station Marine d'Arcachon UMR EPOC 5805 Université Bordeaux 1–CNRS 2 rue du Pr Jolyet F-33120 Arcachon, France email: x.de-montaudouin@epoc.u-bordeaux1.fr

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Keywords

Metazoan parasites in an intermediate host population near its southern border: the common cockle (Cerastoderma edule) and its trematodes in a Moroccan coastal lagoon (Merja Zerga)

  • Mériame Gam (a1), Hocein Bazaïri (a1), K. Thomas Jensen (a2) and Xavier de Montaudouin (a3)

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