Systematic Parasitology

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 201–219

Prosorhynchoides gracilescens (Rudolphi, 1819) (Digenea: Bucephalidae) from Lophius piscatorius L. is a species complex: a redescription of this species (sensu stricto) from the western Mediterranean and the description of P. borealis n. sp. from the northern North-East Atlantic

  • Pierre Bartoli
  • David I. Gibson
  • Rodney A. Bray


The bucephalid digenean Prosorhynchoides gracilescens (Rudolphi, 1819) is a common intestinal parasite of the angler fish Lophius piscatorius in European marine waters. Detailed studies of new material collected off the coasts of both Marseilles and Corsica in the western Mediterranean, and comparison with museum material from the northern North-East Atlantic, indicated that the accepted concept of this species comprises two distinct taxa. The Mediterranean form occurs in relatively small numbers and has small eggs, a large rhynchus and a vitelline distribution that finishes well short of the rhynchus, whereas the NE Atlantic form, which comprises the majority of records, occurs often in large numbers, has larger eggs, a relatively smaller rhynchus and a vitelline distribution that tends to reach the rhynchus. Since the type-material is from the Mediterranean and resembles the Mediterranean form, there was little option but to consider the latter as P. gracilescens (sensu stricto) and to describe the NE Atlantic form as a new species, for which the name P. borealis n. sp. is coined to reflect its northerly distribution. Both species are described and figured in detail, and a table and illustration of the diagnostic features are presented. In addition, some discussion is included on the distribution of these two species and whether P. gracilescens (s. str.) might be a relict species, and on non-European records of P. gracilescens (sensu lato).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Bartoli
    • 1
  • David I. Gibson
    • 2
  • Rodney A. Bray
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre d’Océanologie de Marseille, UMR 6540 du CNRS, DIMARCampus Universitaire de LuminyMarseille cédex 9France
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyThe Natural History MuseumLondonUK

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