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Parasite introduction with an invasive goby in Belgium: double trouble?

Abstract

Non-indigenous species may have negative impacts on the native fauna in their competition for food and habitat, but they can also introduce non-indigenous parasite species, with sometimes devastating consequences. Co-introduction of parasites should therefore be carefully monitored, but this aspect is mostly overlooked. The round goby Neogobius melanostomus (Pallas, 1814) and the tubenose goby Proterorhinus semilunaris (Heckel, 1937), both known for their invasiveness, have recently been discovered in Belgium. Here, we morphologically and genetically document the co-introduction of the Ponto-Caspian Gyrodactylus proterorhini Ergens, 1967, originally described on tubenose goby in southern Slovakia. Because of their direct life cycle and extraordinary reproductive capacities, gyrodactylid monogenean parasites can readily invade new areas together with the host. Moreover, G. proterorhini has a wide host range and might therefore represent a threat to other gobiid fishes. The Gyrodactylus parasite found on the Belgian round goby population is probably acquired through secondary infection from local fish, as suggested by molecular phylogenetic analysis.

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Acknowledgments

M.P.M.V. was funded by KU Leuven—VES/12/005, Research Programme G.0553.10 of the Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen) and the Czech Science Foundation, Project no. P505/12/G112 (European Centre of Ichthyoparasitology (ECIP)—Centre of excellence). Sven Boström (SMNH), Ria Vanderspikken and Tom Artois (HU) are kindly thanked for curatorial services.

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Correspondence to Tine Huyse.

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Huyse, T., Vanhove, M.P.M., Mombaerts, M. et al. Parasite introduction with an invasive goby in Belgium: double trouble?. Parasitol Res 114, 2789–2793 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-015-4544-6

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Keywords

  • Enemy release hypothesis
  • Gyrodactylus
  • Invasion biology
  • Monogenea
  • Parasitology
  • Ponto-Caspian