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Parasite. 2014;21:35. doi: 10.1051/parasite/2014036. Epub 2014 Jul 25.

Metazoan parasite infection in the swordfish, Xiphias gladius, from the Mediterranean Sea and comparison with Atlantic populations: implications for its stock characterization.

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Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Section of Parasitology, "Sapienza" University of Rome, P.le Aldo Moro, 5, 00185 Rome, Italy.
IPMA, I.P, Avenida 5 de Outubro s/n, 8700-305 Olhão, Portugal.
Department of Ecological and Biological Sciences, Tuscia University, Viale dell'Università s/n, 01100 Viterbo, Italy.


Thirteen parasite taxa were identified in the Mediterranean swordfish by morphological and genetic/molecular methods. The comparison of the identified parasite taxa and parasitic infection values observed in the Mediterranean swordfish showed statistically significant differences with respect to those reported for its Atlantic populations. A stepwise Linear Discriminant Analysis of the individual fish examined showed a separation among three groups: one including fish from the Mediterranean Sea (CTS, STS, and IOS); one consisting of fish from the Central South (CS), Eastern Tropical (ET), and Equatorial (TEQ) Atlantic; and a third comprising the fish sampled from the North-West Atlantic (NW); the CN Atlantic sample was more similar to the first group rather than to the other Atlantic ones. The nematodes Hysterothylacium petteri and Anisakis pegreffii were the species that contributed most to the characterization of the Mediterranean swordfish samples with respect to these Atlantic ones. Anisakis brevispiculata, A. physeteris, A. paggiae, Anisakis sp. 2, Hysterothylacium incurvum, Hepatoxylon trichiuri, Sphyriocephalus viridis, and their high infection levels were associated with the swordfish from the Central and the Southern Atlantic areas. Finally, H. corrugatum, A. simplex (s.s.), Rhadinorhynchus pristis, and Bolbosoma vasculosum were related to the fish from the North-West (NW) Atlantic area. These results indicate that some parasites, particularly Anisakis spp. larvae identified by genetic markers, could be used as "biological tags" and support the existence of a Mediterranean swordfish stock.

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