Publication details

Monogeneans of West African cichlid fish: Evolution and cophylogenetic interactions

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Year of publication 2012
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Description African cichlid fish are parasitized by five genera of monogeneans belonging to the Dactylogyridea, Cichlidogyrus, Scutogyrus, Onchobdella, Enterogyrus and Urogyrus. While Enterogyrus and Urogyrus are mesoparasitic monogeneans of cichlids, Cichlidogyrus, Scutogyrus and Onchobdella are ectoparasites located on the gills of fish. Cichlidogyrus is the most diverse genus of monogeneans parasitizing cichlid fish distributed among a wide range of fish species. Scutogyrus species are restricted to mouthbrooders of the genus Sarotherodon and Oreochromis. The objectives of this study were to investigate phylogenetic and evolutionary patterns of West African cichlid fish and their Cichlidogyrus and Scutogyrus monogenean parasites to assess host-parasite cophylogenetic history and reveal the presence of host-parasite cospeciation, and to investigate the link between morphology of the attachment apparatus and parasite phylogeny. Phylogenetic analyses based on ribosomal DNA sequences supported the monophyletic origin of the Cichlidogyrus/Scutogyrus group, and suggested that Cichlidogyrus is polyphyletic and Scutogyrus is monophyletic. The phylogeny of Cichlidae based on mitochondrial cytochrome b DNA sequences supported the separation of mouthbrooders and substrate-brooders and is consistent with the hypothesis that the mouthbrooding behavior of Oreochromis and Sarotherodon evolved from substrate-brooding behavior. The mapping of morphological characters of the haptor onto the parasite phylogenetic tree suggests that the attachment apparatus has evolved from a very simple form to a more complex one. The cophylogenetic analyses indicated a significant fit between trees using distance-based tests, but no significant cospeciation signal using tree-based tests, suggesting the presence of parasite duplications and host switches on related host species.
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