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Effects of goldfish (Carassius auratus) population size and body condition on the transmission of Gyrodactylus kobayashii (Monogenea)

  • SHUN ZHOU (a1) (a2), HONG ZOU (a1), SHAN G. WU (a1), GUI T. WANG (a1), DAVID J. MARCOGLIESE (a3) and WEN X. LI (a1)...


Field surveys indicate that host population size, rather than density, is the most important determinant of monogenean infection dynamics. To verify this prediction, epidemic parameters were monitored for 70 days at five host population sizes held at constant density using a goldfish – Gyrodactylus kobayashii laboratory model. During the first 20 days, the rate of increase of prevalence and mean abundance was faster in small host populations. Total mean prevalence and total mean abundance throughout the experiment were not significantly affected by host population sizes. Higher transmission rates were detected in larger host populations. However, there were no significant differences in effective contact rates among the five host populations on each sampling day during the first 20 days, implying that contact rates may be saturated at a sufficiently high host density. These results demonstrate that the epidemic occurs more quickly in smaller host populations at the beginning of the experiment. However, the epidemic is independent of the host population size due to the similar effective contact rates in the five population sizes. Significant negative influence of the initial body condition (Kn) of uninfected goldfish on total mean abundance of parasites suggests that susceptibility of hosts is also a determinant of parasite transmission.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Key Laboratory of Aquaculture Disease Control, Ministry of Agriculture, and State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072, P. R. China. E-mail:


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Present address: St. Andrews Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 531 Brandy Cove Road, St. Andrews, New Brunswick E5B 2L9, Canada.



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