Parasites of fishes in the recently inundated ephemeral Lake Liambezi, Namibia
Lake Liambezi forms the periodic connection between the upper Zambezi, Kwando and Okavango rivers. A full parasitological assessment was conducted on 86 fish, representing 14 species in six families sampled in August 2011. Parasite diversity was low and dominated by species with complex life cycles involving intermediate hosts. Most prevalent were larval nematodes (Contracaecum sp.) infecting 12 and Trypanasoma sp. infecting nine of the 14 host species. The intra-erythrocytic parasite Babesiosoma mariae was found in the blood of Coptodon rendalli and Oreochromis andersonii with prevalence of 50% and 60%, respectively. The host-specific monogenean Annulotrema hepseti was recorded only from H. cuvieri with a prevalence of 100%. Notable absences were the copepod and branchiuran parasites that have direct lifecycles and usually occur in high prevalence and abundance in the region. Because parasites with direct life cycles can only be transported into the lake on the host fish, their absence suggests limited immigration of infected fishes into the lake. This suggests that internal recruitment dominates over immigration in the fish population dynamics in Lake Liambezi.
Keywords: Annulotrema hepseti, Babesiosoma mariae, Contracaecum, Trypanosoma