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Comparison of richness and diversity of macroparasite communities among eels from Nova Scotia, the United Kingdom and Australia

  • D. J. MARCOGLIESE (a1) and D. K. CONE (a2)

Abstract

Species richness and diversity of macroparasite assemblages were compared among American eels (Anguilla rostrata) from Nova Scotia, European eels (A. anguilla) from the United Kingdom (Kennedy, Bush & Aho, 1986; Esch et al. 1988; Kennedy, 1990, 1993), and Australian eels (A. reinhardtii) from Queensland (Kennedy, 1995). Community richness and diversity of the macroparasite fauna of American and European eels did not differ significantly for total parasite component communities, intestinal parasite component communities, and intestinal parasite infracommunities. The similarities in richness and diversity between the parasite communities of American and European eels are not surprising given the common, recent origin of these sister species. However, differences in species composition were noted between Nova Scotia and the UK. Both species of eels were infected by a nearly identical suite of specialists, but differences occurred in the species number and composition of generalist parasites. In addition, generalist species were rarely dominant in Nova Scotia, but commonly so in the UK. These differences can be attributed to the differences in the freshwater fish fauna and their parasites that occur between Nova Scotia and the UK. American and European eels are derived from a common ancestor and, whereas they have carried with them a common suite of specialist parasites during their brief period of independence, they acquired different suites of generalists apparently from their respective continental faunas after they diverged. In contrast, parasite communities of American and European eels were significantly less diverse and speciose than those of Australian eels regardless of scale (total component community, intestinal component community, intestinal infracommunity). These results support the notion that parasite communities have had more time to evolve and/or that tropical conditions have promoted parasite speciation in Australian eels.

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Corresponding author

Corresponding author: Environment Canada, St Lawrence Centre, 105 McGill Street, Suite 700, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 2E7. Tel: +514 283 6499. Fax: +514 496 7398. E-mail: david.marcogliese@ec.gc.ca.

Keywords

Comparison of richness and diversity of macroparasite communities among eels from Nova Scotia, the United Kingdom and Australia

  • D. J. MARCOGLIESE (a1) and D. K. CONE (a2)

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