Atlantic mackerel Scomber scombrus is an important migratory fish in Faroese waters and the Northeast Atlantic at large. Similar to other fish species from marine environments, mackerel can be infected by the myxozoan parasite Kudoa thyrsites, leading to myoliquefaction that renders the fish commercially unviable. Despite the ecological and economic significance of K. thyrsites as a parasite, little is known regarding its prevalence in the Faroese mackerel fishery. Prior to analysing field samples, we examined 104 samples of Atlantic mackerel selected from a Faroese processing plant on the basis of visible soft-tissue. Using microscope smears we observed K. thyrsites in 98% of the soft-tissue mackerel specimens and a direct comparison with qPCR demonstrated strong agreement between the two techniques (Φ = 0.429, p10 years) had highest prevalence (10.8%, CI: 4.2-17.5%). In order to investigate potential infection pathways we performed qPCR analysis on eDNA in water samples collected from the Faroese Plateau. However, we found no molecular evidence for K. thyrsites spores in Faroese plankton assemblages. Our data support the prevailing hypothesis that both the alternating invertebrate host and infection of Atlantic mackerel by K. thyrsites occurs in more southern waters.
- Kudoa thyrsites
- Environmental DNA
- Atlantic mackerel
- Faroe Islands
- Faroese Marine Ecosystem Observing Study