n African Zoology - Infection of hottentot by the fish louse (Crustacea: Isopoda) in False Bay, South Africa

Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
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The frequency of occurrence, location on the host, abundance, and size and sex distributions of ectoparasitic isopods, , on hottentot from False Bay, South Africa, were investigated. occurred on 5.2 % of examined hosts and were usually attached above the operculum, posterodorsally to the eye. They did not show any preference for a specific sex of host, or side of the body. Parasites occurred most frequently in pairs (65.6 % of cases), or alone (32.8 %), with infection by more than two parasites rare (1.6 % of cases). The 604 collected ranged in size from 13.0-50.9 cm, but parasitized individuals were only found amongst smaller size classes (14.8-31.2 cm), with only one individual larger than 28 cm parasitized. individuals were found to be protandric hermaphrodites, passing through three stages (functional male, intermediate or 'transitional' stage, and then functional female) with increasing size. Parasite sizes were positively correlated with those of the host, suggesting that parasite and host growth could be concurrent. Length and weight of parasitized fish was slightly, but significantly below that of nonparasitized individuals, suggesting that infection by had a negative effect on host condition. Given the low frequency of infection by within False Bay, however, it is unlikely that this has any significant adverse impacts on the hottentot fishery in the region.

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