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Spatial and temporal influences on population dynamics of a branchiuran ectoparasite, Argulus sp. A, in fresh waters of tropical northern Queensland, Australia

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Spatial and temporal influences on population dynamics of a branchiuran ectoparasite, Argulu s sp. A, were investigated. There was a weak, positive correlation between mean Argulus sp. A intensity and size of fish host (Mozambique tilapia). Male hosts had significantly higher Argulus sp. A intensity and prevalence than female hosts. The species was highly aggregated on male and female hosts and its dispersion patterns fitted the negative binomial distribution. There were seasonal changes in prevalence and proportion of immature recruits on male and female tilapia hosts, from a peak during summer to low levels during winter months. Other than host size, differences in Argulus sp. A infection may be related to differences in host behaviour, for example, where segregation of the sexes in host fishes during the spawning season occurs. The species has low host-specificity and was found in fresh water on two other introduced fish species and five native fish species. Les influences spatiales et temporelles sur la dynamique des populations de l'ectoparasite branchioure Argulus sp. A ont été étudiées. Il existe une faible corrélation positive entre l'intensité moyenne d' Argulus sp. A et la taille du poisson hôte (Tilapia du Mozambique). Les hôtes males présentent une intensité et une prévalence significativement plus élevée que les hôtes femelles. L'espèce est fortement agrégée sur les hôtes mâles et femelles et sa distribution est de type binomial négatif. Des changements saisonniers dans la prévalence et la proportion des recrutés immatures sur les tilapias hôtes, mâles et femelles existent, depuis un pic pendant l'été à des niveaux faibles pendant les mois d'hiver. Des différences dans l'infection par Argulus sp. A, autres que celle due à la taille de l'hôte pourraient être reliées au comportement de l'hôte par exemple, en effet il existe une ségrégation par le sexe dans les poissons hôtes durant la saison de ponte. L'espèce a une faible spécificité pour l'hôte et a été trouvée en eau douce sur deux autres espèces de poissons introduites et sur cinq espèces de poissons indigènes.

Affiliations: 1: Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research, James Cook University, Douglas, QLD 4811, Australia


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