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Title: Integrative taxonomy of metazoan parasites of the bluntnose sixgill shark Hexanchus griseus (Bonnaterre, 1788) in the Mediterranean Sea, with the resurrection of Grillotia acanthoscolex Rees, 1944 (Cestoda: Trypanorhyncha)
Authors: Lopez-Verdejo, Alejandro
Palomba, Marialetizia 
Crocetta, Fabio
Santoro, Mario
Issue Date: 2024
Appropriate diagnoses of parasites of apex marine predators are crucial to understand their biodiversity, host specificity, biogeography, and life cycles. Such diagnoses are also informative of ecological and biological characteristics of both host and environment in which the hosts and their parasites live. We here (i) investigate the parasite fauna of a bluntnose sixgill shark Hexanchus griseus (Bonnaterre, 1788) obtained from the Gulf of Naples (Tyrrhenian Sea), (ii) characterize molecularly all its metazoan parasites, and (iii) resurrect and report the main morphological features and phylogenetic position of Grillotia acanthoscolex, a cestode species previously synonymized with Grillotia adenoplusia. A rich parasite fauna represented by eight different taxa was found, including two monogeneans (Protocotyle grisea and Protocotyle taschenbergi), one digenean (Otodistomum veliporum), four cestodes (Crossobothrium dohrnii, Clistobothrium sp., G. acanthoscolex, and G. adenoplusia), and one copepod (Protodactylina pamelae). Sequencing of these samples accounts for an important molecular baseline to widen the knowledge on the parasitic fauna of bluntnose sixgill sharks worldwide and to reconstruct their correct food chains. The bluntnose sixgill shark was found to be a definitive host for all endoparasites found here, confirming that it occupies an apex trophic level in the Mediterranean Sea. The taxa composition of the trophic parasite fauna confirms that the bluntnose sixgill shark mostly feeds on teleost fish species. However, the occurrence of two phillobothrid cestodes (C. dohrnii and Clistobothrium sp.) suggests that it also feeds on squids. Finally, we emphasize the importance of using integrative taxonomic approaches in the study of parasites from definitive and intermediate hosts to elucidate biology and ecology of taxa generally understudied in the Mediterranean Sea.
ISSN: 1095-8649
DOI: 10.1111/jfb.15703
Rights: Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Appears in Collections:A1. Articolo in rivista

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