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First record of the epibiont protozoan Epistylis sp. on zooplankton (Copepoda, Cladocera, and Rotifera) from the Asi River, Turkey

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Based on preliminary evidence (collected by us early 2005) of Epistylis infection of zooplankton, we investigated the prevalence of epibionts on various groups of metazooplankton with regard to Epistylis in the Asi River, north-eastern Mediterranean, Turkey. This study presents a detailed record of that ciliate protozoan on zooplankton from the Asi River in 2005-2006. Copepods, cladocerans, and rotifers were monthly sampled in the study period. The colonial Epistylis sp. was found on various groups: rotifers were the most abundant metazooplankton group (58 species out of a total of 89 zooplankton species) but the results show that copepods are the preferred substratrum for Epistylis sp., followed by cladocerans and rotifers. The highest densities of infected zooplankton were observed in December (116 ind. 20 L−1), then in May (92 ind. 20 L−1). Also October (91 ind. 20 L−1), and November (83 ind. 20 L−1) were associated with high zooplankton densities, possibly due to the increase in adhesion surface. The density of infected zooplankton was found to be positively correlated with zooplankton richness. The zooplankton infection in the Asi River constitutes the first record for Turkish inland waters of Epistylis sp., with the exception of a previous record for Cyclops vicinus Uljanin, 1875. À partir de la mise en évidence préliminaire de l'infection du zooplancton par Epistylis (collecté par nous-même début 2005), nous avons recherché la prévalence d'épibiontes sur divers groupes de métazooplancton pour évaluer l'infection par Epistylis dans la rivière Asi, Méditerranée nord-orientale, Turquie. Cette étude présente un signalement détaillé de ce protozoaire cilié sur le zooplancton de l'Asi en 2005-2006. Les copépodes, les cladocères et les rotifères ont été échantillonnés chaque mois au cours de la période d'étude. L'espèce coloniale Epistylis sp. a été trouvée sur différents groupes: les rotifères étaient le groupe de métazooplancton le plus abondant (58 espèces sur un total de 89 espèces du zooplancton), mais les résultats montrent que les copépodes sont le substrat préféré d'Epistylis sp., suivis des cladocères et des rotifères. Les densités les plus élevées de zooplancton infectés ont été observées en décembre (116 ind. 20 L−1), puis en mai (92 ind. 20 L−1). De même octobre (91 ind. 20 L−1), et novembre (83 ind. 20 L−1) étaient associés aux densités élevées de zooplancton, peut-être en raison de l'augmentation de la surface d'adhésion. La densité de zooplancton infecté a été trouvée liée positivement à la richesse en zooplancton. L'infection du zooplancton dans l'Asi constitue le premier signalement d'Epistylis sp. dans les eaux intérieures de Turquie, avec l'exception d'un premier signalement pour Cyclops vicinus Uljanin, 1875.

Affiliations: 1: Programme of Freshwater Biololgy, Faculty of Fisheries, Mustafa Kemal University, Meydan Mah. 512 Sokak, TR-31200, Iskenderun, Hatay, Turkey; 2: Fish Disease Laboratory, Faculty of Fisheries, Mustafa Kemal University, Meydan Mah. 512 Sokak, TR-31200, Iskenderun, Hatay, Turkey


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