Distribution and genetic diversity of Anisakis spp. in cetaceans from the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea

Paolo Cipriani, Marialetizia Palomba, Lucilla Giulietti, Federica Marcer, Sandro Mazzariol, Mario Santoro, Renato Aco Alburqueque, Pablo Covelo, Alfredo López, M. Begoña Santos, Graham J. Pierce, Andrew Brownlow, Nicholas J. Davison, Barry McGovern, Alexandros Frantzis, Paraskevi Alexiadou, Dánjal-Petur Højgaard, Bjarni Mikkelsen, Michela Paoletti, Giuseppe NascettiArne Levsen, Simonetta Mattiucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Parasite biodiversity in cetaceans represents a neglected component of the marine ecosystem. This study aimed to investigate the distribution and genetic diversity of anisakid nematodes of the genus Anisakis sampled in cetaceans from the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. A total of 478 adults and pre-adults of Anisakis spp. was identified by a multilocus genetic approach (mtDNA cox2, EF1 α − 1 nDNA and nas 10 nDNA gene loci) from 11 cetacean species. A clear pattern of host preference was observed for Anisakis spp. at cetacean family level: A. simplex (s.s.) and A. pegreffii infected mainly delphinids; A. physeteris and A. brevispiculata were present only in physeterids, and A. ziphidarum occurred in ziphiids. The role of cetacean host populations from different waters in shaping the population genetic structure of A. simplex (s.s.), A. pegreffii and A. physeteris was investigated for the first time. Significant genetic sub-structuring was found in A. simplex (s.s.) populations of the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea compared to those of the Iberian Atlantic, as well as in A. pegreffii populations of the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian Seas compared to those of the Iberian Atlantic waters. Substantial genetic homogeneity was detected in the Mediterranean Sea population of A. physeteris. This study highlights a strong preference by some Anisakis spp. for certain cetacean species or families. Information about anisakid biodiversity in their cetacean definitive hosts, which are apex predators of marine ecosystems, acquires particular importance for conservation measures in the context of global climate change phenomena.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13664
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalSCIENTIFIC REPORTS
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2022

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