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      Host specificity and the structure of helminth parasite communities of fishes in a Neotropical river in Mexico Translated title: Spécificité à l’hôte et structure des communautés d’helminthes parasites de poissons dans une rivière néotropicale au Mexique

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          In a tropical locality of Río La Antigua, Veracruz, Mexico, 11 fish species, represented by 244 individual fish from six freshwater fish families living sympatrically and synchronically, were examined for helminth parasites. A total of 36 taxa of helminths were recorded, 24 autogenic and 12 allogenic forms, including 6 monogeneans, 14 trematodes, 1 cestode, and 15 nematodes. Most helminth taxa were recovered for 10/11 of the component communities we analyzed. The results contribute empirical evidence that host specificity is an important force in the development of helminth communities of freshwater fishes. Each fish family has their own set of parasites, host species belonging to the same taxon share parasite species. High component community similarity among related host species was recorded, demonstrated by high prevalence and abundance, as well as dominance, of autogenic specialist species in each component community. Most autogenic helminth species are numerically and reproductively successful in relatively few host species. Autogenic helminths common in one host species are not common in others. Our findings give empirical support to the idea that low levels of sharing of parasites favor animal coexistence and high species richness, because large phylogenetic differences allow potentially competing animals to consume the same resources without being sensitive of another’s parasites.

          Translated abstract

          Dans une localité tropicale de Río La Antigua, Veracruz, au Mexique, onze espèces de poissons, représentées par 244 individus appartenant à 6 familles de poissons d’eau douce vivant en sympatrie et en synchronie, ont été examinées pour détecter les helminthes parasites. Un total de 36 taxons d’helminthes ont été trouvés, 24 autogènes et 12 allogènes, dont 6 monogènes, 14 trématodes, 1 cestode et 15 nématodes. La plupart des taxons d’helminthes ont été trouvés dans 10/11 des communautés de composants que nous avons analysées. Les résultats apportent une preuve empirique que la spécificité à l’hôte est une force importante dans le développement des communautés d’helminthes des poissons d’eau douce. Chaque famille de poissons a son propre ensemble de parasites et les espèces d’hôtes appartenant au même taxon partagent des espèces de parasites. Une similarité élevée des composants de la communauté parmi les espèces liées a été enregistrée, et ceci a été démontré par la prévalence et l’abondance élevées, ainsi que la dominance, des espèces autogènes spécialisées dans chaque communauté de composantes. La plupart des espèces d’helminthes autogènes ont un succès numérique et reproductif chez un relativement faible nombre d’espèces d’hôtes. Les helminthes autogènes communs dans une espèce hôte ne sont pas fréquents dans d’autres. Nos résultats fournissent un soutien empirique à l’idée que des faibles niveaux de partage des parasites favorisent la coexistence des animaux et une richesse élevée en espèces, parce que des grandes différences phylogénétiques permettent aux animaux potentiellement concurrents de consommer les mêmes ressources sans être sensibles aux parasites d’un autre.

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          Most cited references 15

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          Determinants of host-specificity in parasites of freshwater fishes.

           Robert Poulin (1992)
          Factors responsible for interspecific variability in host-specificity were investigated within 15 genera (including 176 species) of metazoan parasites found in Canadian freshwater fish. For each species in a genus, the parasite's number of known hosts was determined from published host-parasite records. The effects of the total number and mean size of potential hosts (i.e. all fish species belonging to the family or families that include a parasite's known hosts) on number of hosts of congeneric species were evaluated using multiple regressions. Since parasite species that have been recorded often tend to have greater numbers of known hosts than do seldom-recorded parasites, it was necessary to control for the confounding effect of study intensity. In all parasite genera, whether from highly specific taxa such as monogeneans or from less host-specific ones, there was a positive relationship between the number of potential hosts and the number of known hosts. However, no consistent relationships were observed between the mean size of potential hosts and number of known hosts. These results suggest that the availability of suitable host species may have been a key factor limiting the colonization of new hosts by fish parasites.
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            Parasite specialization from a phylogenetic perspective: a new index of host specificity.

             D Mouillot,  R Poulin (2003)
            The host specificity of a parasite is not merely a function of how many host species it can exploit, but also of how closely related these host species are to each other. Here, a new index of host specificity is proposed, one that takes into account the average taxonomic or phylogenetic distance between pairs of host species used by a parasite. The index is derived from measures of taxonomic distinctness used in biodiversity studies. It is easy to compute and interpret, ranging from a minimum value of 1 when all host species are members of the same genus, to a maximum of 5, when all host species belong to different classes. The variance of this measure can also be computed, and provides additional information on the taxonomic or phylogenetic structure of the host assemblage. Using data on helminth parasites of Canadian freshwater fishes, we show that the new index, unlike the mere number of known host species, is independent of study effort i.e. the number of published records of a parasite. Although the index and the number of known hosts are not entirely independent statistically, each captures a different aspect of host specificity. For instance, although acanthocephalans infect significantly more host species than trematodes, cestodes or nematodes, there is no difference in the average index value among these 4 helminth taxa, suggesting that the average taxonomic distances between the host species of a parasite do not vary among these higher taxa. We recommend the use of our new index in future comparative studies of host specificity, in particular when the focus is on the evolutionary history of parasites and of their past colonizations of host lineages.
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              Comparison of three estimators of species richness in parasite component communities.

               R Poulin (1998)
              Comparisons of species richness between parasite component communities are often confounded by uneven sampling effort and the possibility that rare species have been missed from some component communities. The use of nonparametric estimators of species richness could potentially alleviate this problem by allowing the number of missing species to be extrapolated from the observed data. The performance of 3 estimators and their sensitivity to true species richness and the frequency of rare species, i.e., species with low prevalence, were tested using computer-simulated parasite communities. When the number of hosts examined in a sample is large, the observed species richness is an accurate estimate of true richness; no extrapolation is necessary even when rare species make up a large part of the community. At small sample sizes, observed species richness is a poor underestimate of true richness. The jackknife estimator and Chao's estimator both improve the estimate of species richness, but they are imprecise and can seriously overshoot the true richness value when the community includes many rare species. The bootstrap estimator. on the other hand, gives a better estimate than observed richness. Bootstrap estimates are also less variable and less likely to overestimate true richness, independently of how frequent rare species are in the community. This estimator provides a better, but conservative, estimate of true richness than observed richness and should be used to correct for inadequate host sampling. Data from natural communities suggest that the use of richness estimators is often justified, and that many parasite species may regularly escape detection.

                Author and article information

                EDP Sciences
                22 December 2016
                : 23
                : ( publisher-idID: parasite/2016/01 )
                [1 ] Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Biología, Departamento de Zoología, Laboratorio de Helmintología Apartado Postal 70-153 C.P. 04510 Ciudad de México Mexico
                [2 ] Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas y Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Laboratorio de Parasitología de Animales Silvestres Avenida Universidad Número 1001, Colonia Chamilpa C.P. 62209 Cuernavaca Morelos Mexico
                [3 ] Instituto de Ecología A. C. Carretera antigua a Coatepec 351, El Haya Xalapa 91070 Veracruz Mexico
                [4 ] Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Conservación Avenida Universidad Número 1001, Colonia Chamilpa C.P. 62209 Cuernavaca Morelos Mexico
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: gsalgado@ 123456ib.unam.mx
                parasite160083 10.1051/parasite/2016073
                © G. Salgado-Maldonado et al., published by EDP Sciences, 2016

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, Equations: 2, References: 38, Pages: 11
                Research Article


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