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Parasitology. 2016 Jan;143(1):87-96. doi: 10.1017/S0031182015001493. Epub 2015 Nov 9.

The reproductive effort of Lepeophtheirus pectoralis (Copepoda: Caligidae): insights into the egg production strategy of parasitic copepods.

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Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR/CIMAR),Universidade do Porto,Rua dos Bragas 289,4050-123 Porto,Portugal.


The reproductive effort of Lepeophtheirus pectoralis (Müller O. F., 1776), a caligid copepod, which is commonly found infecting the European flounder, Platichthys flesus (Linnaeus, 1758), is studied in detail for the first time. Seasonal variation in body dimensions and reproductive effort are analysed. Data for 120 ovigerous females, 30 from each season of the year, were considered in the analyses. Females were larger and produced a larger number of smaller eggs in winter, than during the summer. The relationship between egg number and egg size is similar to that recorded for other copepods exploiting fish hosts. Much of the recorded variation was also similar to that reported for a copepod parasitic on an invertebrate host, which suggests the possibility of a general trend in copepod reproduction. Overall, our results provide further support for the hypothesis that there is an alternation of summer and winter generations.


Lepeophtheirus pectoralis; Platichthys flesus; alternation of generations; caligid copepod; egg number and size; general reproductive cycle

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