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Trematodes of fishes of the Indo-west Pacific: told and untold richness

Abstract

The Indo-west Pacific is a marine bioregion stretching from the east coast of Africa to Hawaii, French Polynesia and Easter Island. An assessment of the literature from the region found reports of 2,582 trematode species infecting 1,485 fish species. Reports are concentrated in larger fishes, undoubtedly reflecting the tendency for larger hosts to be infected by more species of parasites as well as a collecting bias. Many hundreds of fish species, including many from families known to be rich in trematodes, have yet to be reported as hosts. Despite some areas (the Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii and the waters off China, India and Japan) receiving sustained attention, none can be considered to be comprehensively known. Several regions, most importantly in East Africa, French Polynesia and the Coral Triangle, are especially poorly known. The fauna of the Indo-west Pacific has been reported so unevenly that we consider it impossible to predict the true trematode richness for the region. We conclude that the greatest gap in our understanding is of the geographical distribution of species in the Indo-west Pacific. This is highlighted by the fact that 87% of trematodes in the region have been reported no more than five times. The reliable recognition of species is a major problem in this field; molecular approaches offer prospects for resolution of species identification but have been little adopted to date.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the organisers of the 9th International Symposium on Fish Parasites in Valencia for facilitating a workshop: “The Biodiversity of Trematodes of Fishes” from which this paper arose. We thank the Australian Biological Resources Study and the Australian Research Council for support for much of the Australian component of the work summarised here.

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Correspondence to Thomas H. Cribb.

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Special Issue on Biodiversity of Trematodes of Fishes, Guest Edited by Thomas H. Cribb.

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Cribb, T.H., Bray, R.A., Diaz, P.E. et al. Trematodes of fishes of the Indo-west Pacific: told and untold richness. Syst Parasitol 93, 237–247 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11230-016-9625-0

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Keywords

  • Fish Species
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Small Fish
  • Fish Fauna
  • Fish Family