Temperature alters reproduction and maternal provisioning in a fish ectoparasite

Brazenor, Alexander K., Francis, David S., Conlan, Jessica A., Carton, Alexander G., and Hutson, Kate S. (2020) Temperature alters reproduction and maternal provisioning in a fish ectoparasite. International Journal for Parasitology, 50 (10-11). pp. 839-849.

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This study quantified the effects of temperature on reproduction and maternal provisioning of the ectoparasite, Neobenedenia girellae (Platyhelminthes: Monogenea), a species known to cause detrimental impacts to aquaculture fishes in tropical and subtropical environments worldwide. At 20 and 25 degrees C, parasites exhibited relatively slower production of larger eggs that were energy-dense. In contrast, parasites at 30 degrees C attained sexual maturity faster, were reproductively active over a shorter period, grew to a smaller size and laid smaller, less energy-rich eggs at a faster rate. As such, parasites exhibited two distinct reproductive patterns in response to temperature: parasites at lower temperatures produced larger eggs with higher energy content, while those at the higher temperature had a higher rate of egg production. Larger eggs produced under cooler conditions were better provisioned with energetic reserves and important, membrane-bound lipids that would likely facilitate larval longevity and development success. This is commensurate with previous observations of epizootics of this parasite species in aquaculture systems during winter. Meanwhile, eggs produced at 30 degrees C contained higher proportions of saturated fatty acids compared with polyunsaturated fatty acids, likely reflecting metabolic regulation of cell membrane fluidity, which is necessary for larvae to survive warm conditions. This study demonstrates that fish ectoparasites have evolved substantial reproductive and metabolic flexibility to maximise infection success under variable environmental conditions.

Item ID: 64674
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-0135
Keywords: Platyhelminthes, Capsalidae, Lipid, Biochemistry, Egg volume, Lates calcarifer
Copyright Information: © 2020 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Australian Society for Parasitology.
Funders: James Cook University (JCU), New Zealand Ministry for Business, Innovation, and Employment
Projects and Grants: JCU Development Grant
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2020 07:42
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3101 Biochemistry and cell biology > 310102 Cell development, proliferation and death @ 100%
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