The Presence of a Parasite in the Head Tissues of a Threatened Fish (Bidyanus bidyanus, Terapontidae) from South-Eastern Australia

Diane P. Barton, R. Keller Kopf, Xiaocheng Zhu, Shokoofeh Shamsi

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Abstract

The silver perch, Bidyanus bidyanus (Mitchell) (Terapontidae) is a freshwater fish, endemic to the Murray-Darling river system in south-eastern Australia. Population declines have led to the fish being listed as critically endangered by the Australian Government. Knowledge about parasites and diseases of wild populations of freshwater fish are limited in Australia. During an examination of wild-caught silver perch, digenean mesocercaria were observed in the head tissues. A total of five of the 11 silver perch collected from the Wakool River, New South Wales, were infected with mesocercaria. All mesocercaria were found in the head tissues; no mesocercaria were found encysted in the eye lens. The mesocercaria were found to belong to the family Strigeidae based on the sequences of their internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. The lack of comparable sequences of strigeid digeneans from Australian hosts precludes being able to determine if the mesocercaria found in this study are a new species or representatives of an already described species. However, genetic results confirm that this is a different species to other digeneans previously described from silver perch, thus increasing the number of digeneans reported from B. bidyanus to three species. The presence of digenean mesocercaria in the head tissues of a wild population of silver perch, as found in the present study, is of potential conservation significance. Given the critically endangered conservation status of B. bidyanus, and previous evidence of strigeid infection altering fish behaviour, ecology, and predation mortality, further research on the potential impacts of infection on wild populations is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1296
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPathogens
Volume12
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

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