Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2016 / Reduced host-specificity in a parasite infecting non-littoral Lake Tanganyika cichlids evidenced by intraspecific morphological and genetic diversity

Nikol Kmentová, Milan Gelnar, Monika Mendlová, Maarten Van Steenberge, Stephan Koblmüller and Maarten Vanhove (2016)

Reduced host-specificity in a parasite infecting non-littoral Lake Tanganyika cichlids evidenced by intraspecific morphological and genetic diversity

Scientific Reports, 6(39605).

Lake Tanganyika is well-known for its high species-richness and rapid radiation processes. Its assemblage of cichlid fishes recently gained momentum as a framework to study parasite ecology and evolution. It offers a rare chance to investigate the influence of a deepwater lifestyle in a freshwater fish-parasite system. Our study represents the first investigation of parasite intraspecific genetic structure related to host specificity in the lake. It focused on the monogenean flatworm Cichlidogyrus casuarinus infecting deepwater cichlids belonging to Bathybates and Hemibates. Morphological examination of C. casuarinus had previously suggested a broad host range, while the lake’s other Cichlidogyrus species are usually host specific. However, ongoing speciation or cryptic diversity could not be excluded. To distinguish between these hypotheses, we analysed intraspecific diversity of C. casuarinus. Monogeneans from nearly all representatives of the host genera were examined using morphometrics, geomorphometrics and genetics. We confirmed the low host-specificity of C. casuarinus based on morphology and nuclear DNA. Yet, intraspecific variation of sclerotized structures was observed. Nevertheless, the highly variable mitochondrial DNA indicated recent population expansion, but no ongoing parasite speciation, confirming, for the first time in freshwater, reduced parasite host specificity in the deepwater realm, probably an adaptation to low host availability.
Peer Review, International Redaction Board, Impact Factor, Open Access

 
RBINS Staff
add or import reference(s)
  • add a PDF paper
    (Please follow editors copyrights policies)
  • add a PDF poster