Departament de Ciències Ambientals

Effects of parasitism on the reproduction and condition of a marine fish (Blue whiting)

High intensities of parasitic nematodes such as Anisakis sp. may compromise marine fish reproduction and condition through the energetic cost of the immune response

In this paper published by researcher from the Universitat de Girona, a combination of traditional and emerging methodologies was used to assess the trade-offs between several life-history traits (linked to reproduction and condition) and parasitism in a commercially-exploited cold-water species, blue whiting Micromesistius poutassou, in the Mediterranean Sea. The use of histological and gravimetric methods revealed conflicting evidence as to the fecundity type (indeterminate or determinate) of this species. Moreover, there seem to be condition-mediated compensations between egg quality and egg quantity. The effects of parasitism on reproduction and condition are species-specific and occur mainly at high intensities of infection; they include a lower batch fecundity (affecting reproductive potential), a higher hepatosomatic index and a higher spleen-somatic index. Considering the fact that larger fish spawn more eggs and that the minimum landing size is lower than the size at maturity, these results may have implications for the future management of M. poutassou stocks in the Mediterranean Sea. Local environmental conditions may account for geographical differences regarding infection in M. poutassou. Altogether, the results support the idea that the complex trade-offs between parasitism, reproduction and condition need to be considered in order to understand the status of cold-water species such as M. poutassou.
 
Link to the paper: https://rdcu.be/bE9vs
 

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