Siphonostomatoid copepods infecting Squalus acutipinnis Regan, 1908 off South Africa
Squalus acutipinnis (previously included in S. megalops) individuals caught off the east, south and west coasts of South Africa were examined for siphonostomatoid copepod infection. Collected siphonostomatoids were fixed and preserved in 70% ethanol and studied under microscopes using both transmitted and incidental light. The copepods were identified and the host-parasite associations estimated by calculating their prevalence, mean intensity and mean abundance. The siphonostomatoids represented four families and six species, and included new host records for Nemesis sp., Lernaeopoda sp. and Eudactylina acanthii, and a new geographical record for E. acanthii. Squalus acutipinnis individuals were infected by relatively low loads of siphonostomatoids. The most commonly found species was Achtheinus pinguis, the only species found off all three coasts. There was no difference in the prevalence of A. pinguis in sharks sampled off the three coasts but the highest mean intensity was found on the East Coast followed by the West Coast. The overall prevalence of A. pinguis was 33.6%, and was an order of magnitude higher than that of the other siphonostomatoids recorded. At such low levels of infection it will thus be necessary to examine a large number of hosts to determine the biodiversity of siphonostomatoids and geographical differences in prevalence in South African waters.
Keywords: Achtheinus, mean abundance, mean intensity, prevalence, Squaliformes