Ecological studies of parasites of commercially important fish species along the Kenyan Coast
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This study has been carried out over a period of four months (August, November 2001 and January, March 2002). The study aimed at establishing the magnitude of parasitization in different fish species as well as quantifying the relationship between the parasites and their fish hosts. Fish samples were collected from five main landing beaches: Vanga, Shimoni, Gazi, Mombasa and Kilifi. Fish samples examined for Parasites included: Siganus sutor, Plectorhynchus flavomaculatus, P. Sordidus, Lethrinus nebulosus, Sardinella gibosa, Scarus horrid, Sellar crumenophthalmus, Rastrelliger kanarguta, Parupeneus indicus, Mugil cephalus, Scombromorus commerson, Epinephelus macrospilas, Thunnus sp, Leptoscarus viagensis, L. sordidus and Hemiramphus far. Fish samples were purchased from fishermen who used a variety of fishing gears mainly gillnets, traps (madema), hand lines and cast nets. Results of this study have revealed that out of the 16 fish species examined, only 8 species were infected with parasites. These were the rabit fish (Siganus sutor), the mackerels (Selar crumenophthalmus, Scormbromorus commerson and Ratrelliger Kanarguta), Parrot Fish (Leptoscarus vagiensis,), the sardine (Sardinella gibosa), the tuna (Thunnus sp,), and the needle fish (Hemiramphus far). Of the eight species, S. sutor was the most heavily infected with helminth parasites while Sardinella and Leptoscarus were the main species infected with ectoparasites. Intensity of infection increased with age (size) especially in Siganus sutor where very young fish were rarely infected while adults were heavily infected (P<0.01).
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