Diversity of parasites in wild Astronotus ocellatus (Perciformes, Cichlidae), an ornamental and food fish in Brazil
ABSTRACT The community composition of parasites was characterized in Astronotus ocellatus from a tributary of the Amazon River, northern Brazil. The prevalence was 87.9%, and a total of 526,052 parasites were collected, with a mean of 15,941 parasites per host. Nine taxa of ecto- and endo-parasites were identified, but Ichthyophthirius multifiliis was the dominant species, while Piscinoodinium pillulare, Clinostomum marginatum and Argulus multicolor were the least prevalent parasites. The parasite community was characterized by a low species richness, low diversity and low evenness. Host body size was not found to influence the composition of the parasite community, and there was no significant correlation between abundance of any parasite species and host body size. Papers published concerning the presence of parasites in this host in different hydrographic basins within Brazil indicate that 22 species of parasites are known to infect A. ocellatus, including species of ectoparasites and endoparasites. In Brazil, ectoparasites species, particularly crustaceans, have been found to parasitize A. ocellatus in relatively high numbers. This predominance of ectoparasites is typical of fish of lentic ecosystems. Finally, the presence of different endoparasites taxa suggest that A. ocellatus acts as an intermediate or definitive host.