Patterns of a novel association between the scyphomedusa Chrysaora plocamia and the parasitic anemone Peachia chilensis

Jose M. Riascos, Viviana Villegas, Ignacio Cáceres, Jorge E. Gonzalez, Aldo S. Pacheco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Jellyfish display strong population variability. Competitive interactions between fish and jellyfish have been depicted as a major mechanism controlling this variability. Biological associations involving jellyfish are, however, more diverse than predation-prey interactions and remain poorly understood. Parasitic associations in particular may have relevant effects on jellyfish host populations. We studied basic patterns (temporal patterns of parasite intensity-biomass and the distribution pattern of parasites among hosts) of the association between the parasitic anemone Peachia chilensis and its scyphozoan host, Chrysaora plocamia. The mean number of parasites per host (MI) was high (average = 465) and showed significant differences during the pelagic life phase of the medusa. The mean biomass of parasites per host was also significantly different among months but showed a different temporal pattern to that of MI, which may reflect recruitment pulses of parasitic larvae. The mean biomass of P. chilensis per host averaged 56.3 mg ash-free dry mass, which represents a trophic flow of energy probably linking pelagic and benthic food webs. The distribution of parasites among hosts was best fitted to the negative binomial distribution model, as typical for host-parasite systems. We concluded that the parasite-induced host mortality and reduction of fecundity, represented by parasitic castration, is restricted to a few hosts and is therefore under the expected levels that characterize the dynamic equilibrium of host-parasite systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-923
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Volume93
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • Host-parasite regulation
  • Infestation intensity
  • Parasitic castration
  • Trophic flow

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