Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 101, Issue 8, pp 1223–1234 | Cite as

Host-dependent differences in measures of condition associated with Anilocra spp. parasitism in two coral reef fishes

  • R. L. WelickyEmail author
  • D. C. Parkyn
  • P. C. Sikkel


Parasites account for over half of the biodiversity on coral reefs, yet their ecological impacts are poorly understood. Cymothoid isopods of the genus Anilocra are large, conspicuous ectoparasites of coral reef fishes. French grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum) and brown chromis (Chromis multilineata) are commonly infected by Anilocra spp. in the Caribbean. These fishes play a significant role in trophic connectivity through their foraging and activity patterns, and Anilocra spp. infection has been reported to influence the trophic interactions of some fishes. Yet, how these changes manifest physiologically has not been quantified. Thus to determine the energetic effects of Anilocra spp. on French grunt and brown chromis, the relationships between Anilocra spp. infection and condition factor, percent moisture in the muscle tissue, total muscle tissue calories, and gut content volume were examined. The results of these analyses revealed that A. haemuli-infected French grunt had greater percent moisture in the muscle tissue but similar condition scores, calorie values, and gut content volumes compared to uninfected conspecifics. By comparison, Anilocra chromis-infected brown chromis had reduced condition factor, but similar percent moisture in the muscle tissue and total muscle tissue calories, as compared to uninfected conspecifics. This study provides evidence that infection by parasites of the same genus and within the same localities can have differential effects on fish host species, such that generalizations about the effects of parasitism across and within genera should be made cautiously.


French grunt Brown chromis Condition Physiology Host-parasite interaction Symbiosis 



We thank members of the Sikkel lab, E.R. Brill, R. Grippo, and the staff of the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station for logistic support and D. Murie for assistance on the use of the isoperibol bomb calorimeter at UF Fisheries. We thank M. Kilmer for assistance in figure design and S. Johnson-Miller, and the anonymous reviewers for their invaluable feedback on the manuscript. A portion of the fieldwork reported herein supported by National Science Foundation grant OCE-121615, P.C. Sikkel, PI, and Puerto Rico Sea Grant. This is contribution number 192 from the University of the Virgin Islands Center for Marine and Environmental Studies and 441 from the NWU-Water Research Group.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest and all research published herein was approved by Arkansas State University’s IACUC.

Supplementary material

10641_2018_770_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 24 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences and Environmental Sciences ProgramArkansas State University, State UniversityJonesboroUSA
  2. 2.Unit for Environmental Sciences and ManagementNorth-West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa
  3. 3.Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, School of Forest Resources and ConservationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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