Development of Anguillicola crassus (Dracunculoidea, Anguillicolidae) in experimentally infected Balearic congers Ariosoma balearicum (Anguilloidea, Congridae).
The development of Anguillicola crassus in experimentally infected Ariosoma balearicum (Anguilloidea, Congridae) kept in seawater was studied in the laboratory. In parallel trials the effect of water salinity on the development of larval A. crassus in European eels Anguilla anguiUa was also investigated using eels kept in seawater of a salinity of 34%. Both eel species were orally inoculated with Lj larvae of A. crassus and then maintained for up to 3 mo at 18°C In seawater. 110 d post infection, no adult but larval (Lj and L,) stages of A. crassus were detected in the swimbladder wall of Balearic congers, although this period of time was sufficient for the parasites to develop to the adult stage in European eel kept in seawater. The results presented suggest that the definitive host specificity of A. crassus compnses species of the family Angulllidae (i.e. the genus Anguilla), but not members of the Congridae. Theoretically however, A. balearicum might serve as a metaparatenic host. Factors determining the definitive host range of A. crassus remain to be elucidated. Water salinity does not seem to act as a factor affecting definitive host specificity once the parasite has become ingested by the eel.
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