Richness and diversity of parasite communities in European eels Anguilla anguilla of the River Rhine, Germany, with special reference to helminth parasites.
In: Parasitology, Jg. 119 (1999) ; Nr. 3, S. 323-330
Zeitschriftenaufsatz / Fach: Biologie
A total of 121 European eels (Anguilla anguilla) from 2 sampling sites on the River Rhine were investigated in respect of their parasite communities. Special attention was given to the swim bladders, intestines, gills and ®ns of the ®sh. Twelve different parasite species were found to live in and on the eels. Data from each sampling site were kept separate. Parasites found in descending order of prevalence were: Anguillicola crassus, Trypanosoma granulosum, Myxobolus sp., Paratenuisentis ambiguus, Pseudodactylogyrus sp., Bothriocephalus claviceps, Myxidium giardi, Pomphorhynchus laevis, Trichodina sp., Raphidascaris acus, Acanthocephalus lucii and Acanthocephalus anguillae. Signi®cantly different prevalences were reported for L$ larvae of A. crassus, adult P. ambiguus, B. claviceps and Myxobolus sp. at the 2 sampling sites. The highest number of parasite species was recorded from the intestine, which contained up to 6 different helminths. The coexistence of the acanthocephalans P. laevis and P. ambiguus, which showed clear patterns of distribution within the intestine of the respective hosts, was reported for the ®rst time. Up to 3 different helminth species were found in the intestine of individual ®sh. Among those, acanthocephalans were the most prevalent worms with the eel-speci®c parasite P. ambiguus as the dominant species not only of the intestinal but also of the total component communities. Both infra and component communities exhibited low diversity and were dominated by this single species. The evenness reached only approximately 50% or less and it remained unclear why the helminth communities of the eels from the River Rhine with its huge catchment area exhibit such a low parasite diversity and high dominance.