Metazoan parasite communities of Leporinus macrocephalus (Characiformes: Anostomidae) in cultivation systems in the western Amazon, Brazil
ABSTRACT In the Amazon, the growing demand for fish has been boosting the expansion of fish farms. However, the intensification of cultivation can generate disequilibrium in the parasite-host environment, predisposing fish to parasitic infections. The objective of this study was to evaluate the community structure of metazoan parasites in cultivation systems of piauçu, Leporinus macrocephalus, in the state of Acre, Brazil. We examined 100 specimens from a semi-intensive cultivation system (earth tanks) and 100 from an extensive system (dams). Overall 66.5% of the hosts were parasitized. We collected 1,240 parasite specimens, classified in 15 metazoan taxa (10 monogenoidean, one digenean and four nematodes). The parasite prevalence was higher by Monogenoidea in the dams, and by Nematoda in the earth tanks. The parasitic indexes were, in general, low and varied among species. Monogeneoidea had higher values for quantitative and ecological descriptors of parasitism in the dams, while Nematoda had higher values in the earth tanks. A single species of Digenea was found in the dams, with low prevalence. No taxon was classified as central. In the dams, parasite abundance was correlated only with total fish length, while in the earth tanks, it was positively correlated with total length, weight and condition factor of fish. The endoparasite and ectoparasite infracommunities presented higher richness, dominance, diversity and evenness, respectively, in the earth tanks and in the dams. This is the first study of ecological descriptors of parasites of L. macrocephalus in the Amazon.