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Distribution of Pomphorhynchus laevis s.l. (Acanthocephala) among fish species at a local scale: importance of fish biomass density

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2019

M.-J. Perrot-Minnot*
Biogéosciences, UMR 6282 CNRS, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 6 Boulevard Gabriel, 21000 Dijon, France
L. Bollache
Laboratoire Chrono-environnement, UMR 6249 CNRS, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 16 Route de Gray, 25000 Besançon, France
C. Lagrue
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E9, Canada
Author for correspondence: M.-J. Perrot-Minnot, E-mail:


Parasite distribution among hosts is a fundamental aspect of host–parasite interactions. Aggregated parasite distributions within and across host species are commonly reported and potentially influenced by many factors, whether host or parasite specific, or related to host–parasite encounter and compatibility. Yet, the respective role of each in observed parasite distributions are often unclear. Here, we documented the distribution of the acanthocephalan parasite Pomphorhynchus laevis sensu lato (s.l.) in two replicate fish host populations. Aggregated distributions were observed in both populations, within and across fish host species. We found a positive abundance–prevalence relationship across fish species, suggesting that resource availability (fish host biomass density) was the main driver of P. laevis s.l. distribution. This was supported by further positive associations between mean parasite load and fish biomass density. We found little evidence for intensity-dependent regulation within host (i.e. intra-host competition among co-infecting parasites). Furthermore, P. laevis s.l. infection had no detectable effect on fish condition indices, except on the body condition of female barbel (Barbus barbus). Therefore, P. laevis s.l. tended to accumulate with size/age within fish species, and with fish biomass density among fish species, with apparently negligible limitations due to intra-host intensity-dependent regulation of parasite, or to parasite-induced morbidity in fish. The relative availability of final hosts for trophic transmission thus appears to be the main driver of P. laevis s.l. distribution among fish.

Research Paper
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019 

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Both authors contributed equally to this work.


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Distribution of Pomphorhynchus laevis s.l. (Acanthocephala) among fish species at a local scale: importance of fish biomass density
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