Intraspecific density-dependent effects on growth and fecundity of Diplosentis nudus (Harada, 1938) Pichelin et Cribb, 2001 (Acanthocephala, Cavisomidae)
During June and July of 2007, a total of 130 specimens of the fish Rastrelliger kanagurta Cuvier (Teleostei, Scombridae), ranging between 19–31 cm in total length, were caught in the Red Sea off the coast of Sharm El-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt, and examined for infections by acanthocephalans (65 fish/month). Of this number, 29 (22.30%) were slightly or heavily parasitized by the acanthocephalan Diplosentis nudus (Harada, 1938) Pichelin et Cribb, 2001 (Cavisomidae); no other helminth parasites were found in the intestine of R. kanagurta. Twenty-nine infrapopulations of D. nudus, ranging from 23–218 individuals were collected from the infected fishes. These infrapopulations were distributed in a well-defined fundamental niche along the intestine of R. kanagurta, where the distribution of male worms was not random with respect to female worms size and position and suggests that the male-male competition for access to female may be intense and may select for large males. No correlation between fish size and infrapopulation size was observed. Correlations between female-to-male sex ratio and infrapopulation size, numbers of females and their mean lengths, numbers of males and their mean lengths, mean female length and mean male length within infrapopulation were very strong, and clearly suggest that as the infrapopulation size increased, the number of females and their mean lengths decreased and the number of males and their mean lengths increased. Combination of these results strongly suggests density-dependent effects and competition between male worms. The relationship between the mean female length or size and the number of eggs within its pseudocoel was strongly positive; egg production by female worm significantly decreases as the infrapopulation size increases, suggesting density-dependent reduction in female worm fecundity. Tendency for the variability in male testes size was not significant in infrapopulations of D. nudus. All of these results are discussed.
KeywordsAcanthocephala Cavisomidae Diplosentis nudus intraspecific competition density-dependent effect fishes Red Sea
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