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Could Fish Feeding Behaviour and Size Explain Prevalence Differences of the Nematode Eustrongylides excisus among Species? The Case Study of Lake Garda

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The Veterinary Medical Research Institute for Piemonte, Liguria and Valle d’Aosta, Via Bologna 148, 10154 Torino, Italy
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Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche Veterinarie, Alma Mater Studiorum, 40064 Ozzano dell’Emilia, Italy
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Servizio Tutela Faunistico Ambientale, Provincia di Verona, 37122 Verona, Italy
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Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, Via Giorgieri 10, 34127 Trieste, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Elsa T. Rodrigues and José Luis Sánchez-Lizaso
Water 2021, 13(24), 3581; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243581
Received: 5 October 2021 / Revised: 4 December 2021 / Accepted: 10 December 2021 / Published: 14 December 2021
The nematode Eustrongylides excisus is a parasite of freshwater fish- and fish-eating birds, with known differences on prevalence values among fish species. Thus, the present study aims to explore the hypothesis that the feeding behavior and the size of fish belonging to different trophic levels could explain such differences. For that, 14 sampling sites were selected to perform a fish parasitological survey on Lake Garda (Italy) during spring-summer 2020. Amplification of nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) rDNA sequences of nematodes morphologically ascribable to the genus Eustrongylides allowed to identify them as E. excisus. From the five studied fish species (Perca fluviatilis, Lepomis gibbous, Coregonus lavaretus, Alosa fallax lacustris and Micropterus salmoides), only three presented the parasite E. excisus: P. fluviatilis, L. gibbous and M. salmoides, with significant differences in prevalence values among species (p = 0.002). Additionally, there were differences in prevalence values within the same fish species captured from different sampling sites. Findings showed that mainly piscivorous fish were positive for E. excisus and how the prevalence was highest in M. salmoides. As regard the fish size, a negative correlation between body size and E. excisus was found in P. fluviatilis due to the feeding habit of juvenile perch which feed mainly zooplankton and benthic invertebrates (i.e., oligochaetes, which are the first intermediate hosts of E. excisus). The study findings advance novel knowledge in the field of pathogens of zoonotic importance in the aquatic environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: food–borne zoonoses; Perca fluviatilis; Lepomis gibossus; Micropterus salmoides; trophic level food–borne zoonoses; Perca fluviatilis; Lepomis gibossus; Micropterus salmoides; trophic level
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MDPI and ACS Style

Menconi, V.; Tedesco, P.; Pastorino, P.; Confortini, I.; Esposito, G.; Tomasoni, M.; Mugetti, D.; Gustinelli, A.; Dondo, A.; Pizzul, E.; Fioravanti, M.L.; Prearo, M. Could Fish Feeding Behaviour and Size Explain Prevalence Differences of the Nematode Eustrongylides excisus among Species? The Case Study of Lake Garda. Water 2021, 13, 3581. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243581

AMA Style

Menconi V, Tedesco P, Pastorino P, Confortini I, Esposito G, Tomasoni M, Mugetti D, Gustinelli A, Dondo A, Pizzul E, Fioravanti ML, Prearo M. Could Fish Feeding Behaviour and Size Explain Prevalence Differences of the Nematode Eustrongylides excisus among Species? The Case Study of Lake Garda. Water. 2021; 13(24):3581. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243581

Chicago/Turabian Style

Menconi, Vasco, Perla Tedesco, Paolo Pastorino, Ivano Confortini, Giuseppe Esposito, Mattia Tomasoni, Davide Mugetti, Andrea Gustinelli, Alessandro Dondo, Elisabetta Pizzul, Maria L. Fioravanti, and Marino Prearo. 2021. "Could Fish Feeding Behaviour and Size Explain Prevalence Differences of the Nematode Eustrongylides excisus among Species? The Case Study of Lake Garda" Water 13, no. 24: 3581. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243581

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