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Ecology of the Atlantic black skipjack Euthynnus alletteratus (Osteichthyes: Scombridae) in the western Mediterranean Sea inferred by parasitological analysis



Between 2008 and 2011, the head of 150 Euthynnus alletteratus (Osteichthyes: Scombridae) caught inshore off the southeastern Iberian coast (western Mediterranean Sea) were examined for parasites. Two monogeneans, four didymozoid trematodes and four copepods were found. Parasite abundance showed a positive relationship with the annual sea surface temperature, except for Pseudocycnus appendiculatus, but negative with the sea depth (Capsala manteri, Neonematobothrium cf. kawakawa and Caligus bonito). Prevalences and mean abundances differed significantly among sampling areas, except for C. manteri, Oesophagocystis sp. 2 and Ceratocolax euthynni, and sampling years (Melanocystis cf. kawakawa, kawakawa, P. appendiculatus and Unicolax collateralis). Results indicate that the parasite abundances of E. alletteratus in the western Mediterranean Sea depend mainly on regional environmental variables, which can show interannual variations. The presence of pelagic parasites, i.e. didymozoids and P. appendiculatus, could indicate that E. alletteratus migrates between inshore and offshore pelagic domains. The different parasite faunas reported in E. alletteratus populations from the western Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea appear to point out the geographical host isolation. These results suggest that E. alletteratus inhabiting the western Mediterranean Sea performs inshore-offshore small-scale migrations, and not transoceanic migrations between the western Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.


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*Corresponding author: Parassitologia e Malattie Parassitarie, Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università di Sassari, via Vienna 2, 07100 Sassari, Italy. Tel: 0039 079 229 456. Fax: 0039 079 229 464. E-mail:


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Ecology of the Atlantic black skipjack Euthynnus alletteratus (Osteichthyes: Scombridae) in the western Mediterranean Sea inferred by parasitological analysis



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