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Parasite diversity as an indicator of environmental change? An example from tropical grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) mariculture in Indonesia

Palm, Harry Wilhelm; Kleinertz, Sonja; Rueckert, Sonja


Harry Wilhelm Palm

Sonja Kleinertz


Fish parasites are used to monitor long-term change in finfish grouper mariculture in Indonesia. A total of 210 Epinephelus fuscoguttatus were sampled in six consecutive years between 2003/04 and 2008/09 and examined for parasites. The fish were obtained from floating net cages of a commercially run mariculture facility that opened in 2001. The fauna was species rich, consisting of ten ecto- and 18 endoparasite species. The ectoparasite diversity and composition was relatively stable, with the monogeneans Pseudorhabdosynochus spp. (83–100% prevalence, Berger-Parker Index of 0·82–0·97) being the predominant taxon. Tetraphyllidean larvae Scolex pleuronectis and the nematodes Terranova sp. and Raphidascaris sp. 1 were highly abundant in 2003/04–2005/06 (max. prevalence S. pleuronectis 40%, Terranova sp. 57%, Raphidascaris sp. 1 100%), and drastically reduced until 2008/09. These parasites together with the prevalence of Trichodina spp., ecto-/endoparasite ratio and endoparasite diversity illustrate a significant change in holding conditions over the years. This can be either referred to a definite change in management methods such as feed use and fish treatment, or a possible transition of a relatively undisturbed marine environment into a more affected habitat. By visualizing all parameters within a single diagram, we demonstrate that fish parasites are useful bioindicators to monitor long-term change in Indonesian grouper mariculture. This also indicates that groupers can be used to monitor environmental change in the wild. Further taxonomic and systematic efforts in less sampled regions significantly contributes to this new application, supporting fish culture and environmental impact monitoring also in other tropical marine habitats.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Feb 15, 2011
Publication Date 2011-11
Deposit Date Sep 25, 2013
Print ISSN 0031-1820
Electronic ISSN 1469-8161
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 138
Issue 13
Pages 1793-1803
Keywords Animal Science and Zoology; Parasitology; Infectious Diseases
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