Publication details

Co-existence of nine gill ectoparasites(Dactylogyrus: Monogenea) parasitising the roach (Rutilus rutilus): history and present ecology



Year of publication 2000
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source International Journal for Parasitology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Ecology
Keywords Dactylogyrus; Monogenea; Species co-existence; Aggregation model; Comparative analysis
Description Co-existence among potentially competing species can be favoured by niche specialisation and/or by reducing the overall intensity of competition via aggregated utilisation of fragmented resources. We investigated the respective roles of niche specialisation and aggregation in the case of nine congeneric monogenean parasites on the gills of Roach (Rutilus rutilus L.) belonging to the genus Dactylogyrus. The position of each individual parasite of the nine Dactylogyrus species was recorded. Niche breadth and niche overlap of parasite species were estimated. Comparative methods, which take into account phylogenetic information of the analysed species, were used. We reconstructed a phylogeny of the nine Dactylogyrus species based on morphological characters. We used the `aggregation model of co-existence' in the model to test if species co-existence is facilitated when intraspecific aggregation exceeds interspecific aggregation. We observed a lack of negative correlation in abundance between pairs of parasites, and a negative correlation between niche size and parasite aggregation, for both intraspecific and interspecific aggregation. Our comparative analysis showed that parasite abundance is positively correlated with niche breadth. Then parasite abundance, and not interactions between Dactylogyrus species, seems to be the most important factor determining niche size This result gives some support to niche segregation by specialisation. Niche size was negatively correlated with both intraspecific and interspecific aggregation. No relationship was found between an increase of interspecific aggregation with an increase of niche overlapping, which suggests that competition may play little role. A lack of competition could be also confirmed by the lack of negative correlation in abundance between species pairs. A parsimony analysis of the evolution of gill distribution indicates a change in one parameter of the niche (arch, segment and/or area) at each branching event.
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