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Survival, feeding and embryo development of Gyrodactylus gasterostei (Monogenea: Gyrodactylidae)

Cable, Joanne, Tinsley, R. C. and Harris, P. D. 2002. Survival, feeding and embryo development of Gyrodactylus gasterostei (Monogenea: Gyrodactylidae). Parasitology 124 (1) , pp. 53-68. 10.1017/S0031182001008861

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Viviparous gyrodactylid monogeneans which are detached from their host may form an important source of infection in fish communities. This is particularly significant for these ectoparasites which have no specific free-living stage and where transmission usually occurs through transfer of adult parasites when fish come into close contact. In this study, in vitro survival of Gyrodactylus gasterostei was correlated with changes in tissue ultrastructure of parents and their embryos during detachment and following return to a host. At 10 °C, detached worms survived for up to 89 h (50% survival = 20 h) with mortality influenced by both age-independent and age-dependent factors. The gastrodermis of attached, fed parasites is syncytial and contains a variety of vesicles and feeding vacuoles. However, following detachment and starvation, degenerative changes occur within the gastrodermis, eventually leading to marked damage to the embryo/s. When starved worms reattached to a fish, they began browsing on host epithelial cells within 1 min and ultrastructural evidence for phagocytic activity in the gastrodermis was detected after 5 min. Putative waste vacuoles increased in abundance after 5–30 min on the new host, coinciding with the reappearance of electron-dense vesicles and possibly indicating completion of the first intracellular cycle of digestion. Parental feeding directly influenced the normal cyclical maturation and regression of the uterine lining between births. In extreme cases, starvation led to detached parasites (6·1%) aborting their embryos. However, even short periods off the host influenced development and survival of embryos, suggesting that temporary interruption of nutrient flow to the embryo can significantly affect gyrodactylid reproductive rates.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Uncontrolled Keywords: platyhelminth; gyrodactylid; reproduction; fecundity; viviparity; Gasterosteus aculeatus.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0031-1820
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:33

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