Parasite communities in two sparid fishes from the western Mediterranean: a comparative analysis based on samples from three localities off the Algerian coast

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We provide the first known comparative assessment of metazoan parasite communities in two taxonomically and ecologically related sparids, Boops boops and Spicara maena, that are common in the coastal infralittoral habitats in the Mediterranean. Using abundant data for infracommunities in three localities off the Algerian coasts of the Mediterranean, we tested the general prediction that the phylogenetic proximity of the two hosts, their overlapping geographical distribution and habitat occupation, as well as the similar feeding habits and diet would contribute to a homogenization of their parasite community composition and structure. The regional fauna of parasites of B. boops and S. maena along the Algerian coasts of the western Mediterranean was species-rich (36 species) and dominated by heteroxenous species (27 spp; of these 20 digenean spp.). The phylogenetic relatedness between the two hosts resulted in a large number of shared parasites (56 %, 20 spp.). However, the significant overlap in the parasite faunas of the two sparid hosts and their similar feeding habits and diet did not translate into homogeneous parasite community pattern; a significant differentiation in terms of both, composition and structure, was observed.

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