Journal of Parasitic Diseases

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 42–46

New occurrence of parasitic isopods from Indian fishes


  • Ganapathy Rameshkumar
    • Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Faculty of Marine ScienceAnnamalai University
    • Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Faculty of Marine ScienceAnnamalai University
  • Kanagasabapathy Sivasubramanian
    • Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Faculty of Marine ScienceAnnamalai University
  • Jean-Paul Trilles
    • Equipe Adaptation Ecophysiologique et Ontogenèse, UMR 5119 (CNRS-UM2-IRD-UM1-IFREMER)Université Montpellier 2
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12639-012-0128-x

Cite this article as:
Rameshkumar, G., Ravichandran, S., Sivasubramanian, K. et al. J Parasit Dis (2013) 37: 42. doi:10.1007/s12639-012-0128-x


Until now, 36 species belonging to the family Cymothoidae (Crustacea, Isopoda) were recorded from Indian fishes. In this study, ten additional cymothoids are reported in India, most of them for the first time. They parasitize nine fish species, several of them being new host species.


CymothoidaeParasitic isopodsHost fishesIndia


Cymothoidae are ectoparasitic isopods infesting many tropical and temperate fishes worldwide. They are blood feeding. Several species settle in the buccal cavity of the fish host, others are attached in the gill chambers, on the surface of the body, often on the fins. Studies on cymothoids parasitizing Indian marine fishes are scanty. However, 47 nominal species corresponding to 36 valid species infesting hosts belonging to 34 fish families were until now recorded from India (Trilles et al. 2011). In this study, ten additional cymothoids are reported from nine Indian fishes.

Materials and methods

One thousand and seven hundred and twenty-eight specimens belonging to several fish families and nine species, from the Nagapattinam, Muthupettai, Agatti Island (Lakshadweep), Muttam, Mudasalodai and Parangipettai coasts of India were examined during the years 2010–2011. They were caught with nets. The cymothoid specimens were preserved in 70 % alcohol. They were identified according to Trilles (1979), Avdeev (1979), Bowman and Tareen (1983), Bruce (1986, 1990), Bruce and Harrison-Nelson (1988), Yu and Bruce (2006). The overall prevalence was calculated. The host species, the site of attachment and the geographical distribution of parasites were noted. All specimens were deposited in the collection of the Annamalai University (AUCR, Collection Ravichandran). The taxonomy and fish names were updated according to Froese and Pauly (2011).


In the present study, ten species are reported (Table 1; Fig. 1A–J). Nine of them, Cymothoa parupenei, C. frontalis, C. bychowskyi, Joryma sawayah, Lobothorax typus, Nerocila arres, N. loveni, Norileca indica and Mothocya sp. are recorded for the first time from India. The species Nerocila sigani was already reported from Tamil Nadu, India by Bruce and Harrison-Nelson (1988).
Table 1

Parasitological indexes of the collected Indian Cymothoidae

Parasite species

Hosts species

Number of fish examined

Number of fish infested



Cymothoa parupenei Avdeev 1979

Upeneus sulphureus





Cymothoa frontalis Milne Edwards 1840

Strongylura leiura





Cymothoa bychowskyi Avdeev 1979

Fistularia villosa




Agatti Island, Lakshadweep

Joryma sawayah Bowman and Tareen 1983

Ilisha melastoma





Lobothorax typus Bleeker 1857

Trichiurus lepturus





Mothocya sp.

Strongylura leiura





Nerocila arres Bowman and Tareen 1983

Nemipterus japonicus





Nerocila loveni Bovallius 1887

Eubleekeria splendens





Nerocila sigani Bowman and Tareen 1983

Siganus oramin





Norileca indica (Milne Edwards 1840)

Rastrelliger kanagurta









Fig. 1

(a–i): New collected Indian Cymothoidae: aCymothoa parupenei, bCymothoa frontalis, cCymothoa bychowskyi, dJoryma sawayah, eLobothorax typus, fMothocya sp., gNerocila arres, hNerocila loveni, iNerocila sigani, jNorileca indica

Order Isopoda

Family Cymothoidae Leach 1814

Genus Cymothoa Fabricius 1793

Cymothoa parupenei Avdeev 1979

Material: One female of Cymothoa parupenei was collected from the buccal region of 1 of 17 Upeneus sulphureus (Mullidae) (P = 5.9 %) at Nagapattinam.

Distribution: From waters of the Indian Ocean off Australia (Avdeev 1979).

Hosts: Until now, this species was only recorded from Parupeneus spilurus (Avdeev 1979).

Cymothoa frontalis Milne Edwards (1840)

Material: One female Cymothoa frontalis was collected from the branchial cavity of 1 of 14 specimens of Strongylura leiura (Belonidae) (P = 7.1 %) from the coast of Muthupettai.

Distribution: Cymothoa frontalis has been reported from the Indian Ocean (Milne Edwards 1840; White 1847; Trilles 1975), particularly at Singapore (Heller 1868), Bangkok (Schioedte and Meinert 1884; Trilles 1975) and from the western Australia (Avdeev 1978). This species was also doubtfully recorded from the Pacific Ocean, at Oahu (Hawaii), by Dana (1853).

Hosts: Until now, this species was only recorded “on the gills of Cyclopterus” (White 1847).

Cymothoa bychowskyi Avdeev 1979

Material: Three pairs of specimens (female and male) were found in the mouth of 3 of 38 Fistularia villosa (Fistulariidae) (P = 7.9 %) from the coast of Agatti island, Lakshadweep.

Distribution: Cymothoa bychowski was firstly collected in fishes from waters of the Indian Ocean off Australia (Avdeev 1979) and later from Okinawan coral reef fishes, in Japan (Williams et al. 1996).

Hosts: Cymothoa bychowskyi was found parasitizing particularly cornet fishes, Fistularia villosa. and Fistularia petimba (Avdeev 1979; Williams et al. 1996).

Genus Joryma Bowman and Tareen 1983

Joryma sawayah Bowman and Tareen 1983

Material: The species Joryma sawayah was collected in the branchial cavities of 88 of 496 Ilisha melastoma (Pristigasteridae) (P = 17.7 %) from the Muttam.

Distribution: Until now, this species was recorded from Kuwait, South of Faylaka, Doha and “Gord of Oha” (Bowman and Tareen 1983).

Hosts: Previously collected from the gills of Ilisha indica and Therapon (=Terapon) puta (Bowman and Tareen 1983).

Genus Lobothorax Bleeker 1857

Lobothorax typus Bleeker 1857

Material: Lobothorax typus was collected from the mouth of 50 of 398 Trichiurus lepturus (Trichiuridae) (P = 12.6 %) from the coast of Parangipettai.

Distribution: Jakarta, Java, Indonesia (as Batavia, Bleeker 1857; Schioedte and Meinert 1883), Ubay, Philippines (Schioedte and Meinert 1883; Trilles 2008), South China Sea (Yu and Bruce 2006).

Hosts: Lepturacanthus savala was the only host until now recorded.

Genus Nerocila Leach 1818

Nerocila arres Bowman and Tareen 1983

Material: Nerocila arres was collected on the caudal peduncle of 18 of 201 Nemipterus japonicus (Nemipteridae) (P = 9.0 %) from the coast of Nagapattinam.

Distribution: Until now, this species was only reported from Kuwait, Seif fish market, Kuwait City and north of platform (Bowman and Tareen 1983).

Hosts: It was found on several host species, Epinephalus [sic] (=Epinephelus) tauvina, Acanthopagrus latus, Nemipterus japonicus and Nemipterus tolu (Bowman and Tareen 1983).

Nerocila loveni Bovallius 1887

Material: Nerocila loveni was collected from the caudal peduncle of 39 of 347 Eubleekeriasplendens (Leiognathidae) (P = 11.2 %) from the coast of Nagapattinam.

Distribution: Distributed in the northern central Indo-Pacific region: Java coasts (Bovallius 1887), Batavia and Siam gulf (Nierstrasz 1915, 1931; Trilles 1979, 1994), Singapore, Thailand, Borneo and Sarawak (Bruce and Harrison-Nelson 1988).

Hosts: Until now only recorded from Leiognathus sp. (Bruce and Harrison-Nelson 1988).

Nerocila sigani Bowman and Tareen 1983

Material: Nerocila sigani was collected on the caudal fin of 2 of 23 Siganus oramin (Siganidae) (P = 8.6 %) from the coast of Mudasalodai.

Distribution: This species was firstly reported from Kuwait (Bowman and Tareen 1983). After, it was doubtfully synonymized with Nerocila arres by Bruce and Harrison-Nelson (1988) and so, also recorded from the western Indian Ocean (Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Madagascar and South Africa) and from the northern Indo-Pacific (Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, Bay of Bengal, Penang and Taiwan).

Hosts: Originally, previously only collected from Siganus oramin (Bowman and Tareen 1983). Later this species, was also recorded from Argyrosoma (Argyrosomus) hololepidotus, Argyrosoma (=Pennahia) macrocephalus, Argyrosoma (=Atrobucca) nibe, Sciaenia (=Sciaena) dussumieri, Pomadasys sp. and Formio (=Parastromateus) niger by Bruce and Harrison-Nelson (1988)according to the synonymy Nerocila sigani/Nerocila arres suggested by them.

Genus Norileca Bruce 1990

Norileca indica (Milne Edwards 1840)

Material: Norilica indica was collected in the gill chamber of 8 of 178 Rastrelliger kanagurta (Scombridae) (P = 4.5 %) from the coast of Parangipettai.

Distribution: This species is widely distributed in Sumatra (Milne Edwards 1840), Sambelong (Heller 1868; Schioedte and Meinert 1884), Kohkram, Sumatra and Mariveles, Luzon Islands (Schioedte and Meinert 1884), Sekroë, New Guinea (Nierstrasz 1915), Sumatra, Batavia, Mayotte (Trilles 1976), north-western Australia (Avdeev 1978), “Sissie near Misool Stand” (Trilles 1979), off Mozambique and northwestern coasts of Madagascar (Rokicki 1982), in the Arafura Sea, off the Northern Territory coast (Bruce 1990), in China (Yu and Li 2003), Philippines (Yamauchi et al. 2005) and Thailand (Nagasawa and Petchsupa 2009).

Hosts: Norileca indica was reported from several host species, Atule malam and Rastelliger kanagurta (Avdeev 1978), Selar crumenophthalmus (Rokicki 1982), Selar crumenophthalmus and Herklotichthyes sp. (Bruce 1990), Herklotichthyes sp. (Yu and Li 2003), Coryphaena hippurus (Yamauchi et al. 2005), Selar crumenophthalmus (Nagasawa and Petchsupa 2009).

Genus Mothocya Costa in Hope (1851)

Mothocya sp.

Material: A female was collected from the branchial cavity of 1 of 16 Strongylura leiura (Belonidae) (P = 6.3 %) from the coast of Parangipettai.


Authors are thankful to the Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of environment & Forest, Government of India for providing financial support and to the Dean, Faculty of Marine Sciences, Annamalai University, Parangipettai for providing facilities and encouragement.

Copyright information

© Indian Society for Parasitology 2012