Acquisition of parasites correlated with social rank and behavioural changes in a fish species

J Helminthol. 2000 Dec;74(4):289-93. doi: 10.1017/s0022149x00000421.


A survey of parasites was conducted on 258 Symphodus ocellatus (Teleostei: Labridae) collected in Corsica National Park (west Mediterranean). In addition, the total length, sex and social status were recorded for each individual fish. Three species of trematodes were found in the digestive tract. One of the parasites, Genitocotyle mediterranea, was only present, with one exception, in males of large size, and principally in the individuals that had the highest status and that were involved in nest construction. Two hypotheses are suggested to explain this particular distribution of a parasite: the immunocompetence handicap and the changing trophic behaviour as the fish grows.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biometry
  • Female
  • Fish Diseases / parasitology*
  • Fishes / anatomy & histology
  • Fishes / parasitology
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Dominance*
  • Trematoda / classification
  • Trematoda / isolation & purification*
  • Trematode Infections / parasitology
  • Trematode Infections / veterinary*