Branchiuran parasites (Crustacea: Branchiura) from fishes in the Okavango (Botswana) and Zambezi (Namibia) systems
Fish parasitological surveys, conducted during different times of the year in the Okavango and Upper Zambezi River systems from 1997 to 2013, revealed the presence of five branchiuran species. Dolops ranarum from the Okavango system was found on the skin and in the branchial chambers of 12 fish species. Adults and various larval stages of Chonopeltis lisikili were collected from five Synodontis species. In some cases, both larval stages and adults were found on the same fish. This implies that host-change does not occur in C. lisikili, as was reported for other Chonopeltis species. Chonopeltis liversedgei was found in the branchial chamber of the western bottlenose Mormyrus lacerda. A solitary specimen of Argulus ambloplites was found on the skin of the sharptooth catfish Clarias gariepinus. In the Zambezi system, A. cunningtoni was collected from C. gariepinus and Serranochromis robustus. This paper includes data collected over a long period on the branchiurans from two river systems, and is compared to data from other published information from the Zambezi and Limpopo systems, the latter being the most southern distribution range of D. ranarum. Information is provided on new hosts and distribution records of these branchiurans found in their natural, almost undisturbed habitats, contributing to our understanding of the biodiversity of African branchiurans.
Keywords: Argulus, behaviour, Chonopeltis, distribution, Dolops, morphology, territorial