Abstract

Parasite infracommunities were studied in 202 specimens of Astronotus ocellatus collected from a freshwater lake in the State of Amapá, northern Brazil. Relationships between some host attributes (i.e., ontogeny, sex, and body size) and parasite infections were analyzed, but the primary focus was the seasonal variation in the parasite fauna. In total, 6,308,912 parasites belonging to 11 different taxa were found. Protozoa were the most abundant and dominant taxa, but monogeneans, trematode metacercariae, and nematode larvae were also prevalent and abundant. Fish ontogeny had a weak influence on parasite infection rates; juveniles were more parasitized by Dolops nana and Posthodiplostomum sp. The abundances of all parasite species were weakly correlated with host body size (low r2 values), except D. nana, Contracaecum sp., and Posthodiplostomum sp., which exhibited no correlation between abundance and host body size. Prevalence and abundance were different between flood and drainage seasons for all parasite species, except for D. nana and the 2 metacercarial species. Astronotus ocellatus may represent a link in food-web transmissions for parasites because it is used both as definitive and intermediate host. The parasite fauna of A. ocellatus was composed primarily of ectoparasites, and this could be considered typical of fishes that inhabit lentic waters. Seasonality was a strong determinant in the parasite community structure.

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