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Parasites of the Brazilian flathead Percophis brasiliensis reflect West Atlantic biogeographic regions



With the aim of evaluating the utility of marine parasites as indicators of zoogeographical regions in the South West Atlantic, we analyzed data on assemblages of long-lived larval parasites of 488 specimens of Percophis brasiliensis distributed in 11 samples from nine localities covering the entire distribution of the species in the Argentine biogeographical Province. Near half a million long-lived parasite individuals belonging to 17 species present in the whole sample displayed clear latitudinal patterns. Data for parasite assemblages at infracommunity and component community levels were analysed in relation to the geographical distance. Significant similarity decay of parasite assemblages over distance was observed, with those based on abundances and mean abundances showing departures from predicted values of regressions. These departures were represented by higher dissimilarities between samples coming from different zoogeographical regions than between those caught within the same region, independently of the distance separating them. Consequently, zoogeographical regions were identified in a distance-decay context. Multivariate analyses corroborated a close fit of similarity between assemblages to existing zoogeographical classifications. Regressions representing distance decay of similarity, and the identification of their outliers, can therefore shed light on the existence of discontinuities or uniformities in the geographic distribution of parasite assemblages and, in turn, in the zoogeography of their fish hosts.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Laboratorio de Ictioparasitología, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (II MyC), FCEyN, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata-CONICET, Funes 3350, (7600) Mar del Plata, Argentina. E-mail:


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