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Invasive swimbladder parasite Anguillicoloides crassus: infection status 15 years after discovery in wild populations of American eel Anguilla rostrata.

  • Hein, Jennifer L
  • Arnott, Stephen A
  • Roumillat, William A
  • Allen, Dennis M
  • de Buron, Isaure
Published Article
Diseases of aquatic organisms
Publication Date
Jan 16, 2014
DOI: 10.3354/dao02686
PMID: 24429471


A year-round survey of American eels Anguilla rostrata was performed at 5 localities in South Carolina (SC), USA, 15 yr after the first infection by the nematode Anguillicoloides crassus was reported from Winyah Bay, SC. Infections by adult stages of A. crassus in the swimbladder lumen occurred with a prevalence of 45% (n = 479), a mean intensity (± SE) of 2.3 ± 0.2 worms per infected eel (range = 1-22), and a mean abundance of 2.0 ± 0.1 among all eels. Infections by larval stages of A. crassus in the swimbladder wall occurred with a prevalence, intensity, and abundance of 29%, 2.4 ± 0.3 (range = 1-15), and 0.7 ± 0.1, respectively (n = 471). Overall prevalence of the parasite (any stage) was 58%, with a mean intensity ± SE of 3.0 ± 0.2 and a mean abundance of 1.8 ± 0.2. Biomass of the adult parasite stage varied significantly with eel body length, but the direction of the effect depended on salinity. Prevalence and intensity of infection by adult nematodes varied by locality but not by eel total length, salinity, or season. Larval prevalence was significantly greater in the winter and spring and also differed among localities. The lack of seasonal effects on infection by the adult worm stage contrasts with studies from higher latitudes in North America and Europe and may be due to the warmer winter temperatures at southern latitudes. Significant variation in infection among localities reflects possible differences in abundance of intermediate and/or paratenic hosts. Overall, infection levels were higher than previous reports for eels in SC but comparable to more recent reports from other areas in North America.

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