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MONOGENEAN PARASITES OF FISH IN EBONYI RIVER

Health Effects of the Monogenean Parasites of Fish in Ebonyi River


 

CHAPTER ONE

  • INTRODUCTION

1.1.  Background to the study

Monogeneans are a class of parasitic flatworms that are commonly found on fishes and lower aquatic invertebrates. The majority of monogeneans are browsers that move about freely on the fish’s body surface feeding on mucus and epithelial cells of the skin and gills (Bakke et al., 2002) however, a few adult monogeneans will remain attached to a single location on the host permanently. Several monogenean species attack the body cavity, rectal cavity, ureter, even the blood vascular system (Bakke et al., 2007). There are between 4,000 and 5,000 species of monogeneans that have been described. Monogeneans are seen in fishes living in fresh and salt water in a wide range of water temperatures.

Morbidity and mortality epidemics caused by excessive parasite loads are not uncommon in captive fishes and in wild fishes also. Fishes on captive are usually held in more crowded conditions than fishes in the natural habitat. The practice allows hatching monogeneans to find host fish easily (Buchmann et al., 1997). In addition, stressors found in the captive environment such as aggressive behavior by tank mates, poor water quality and poor nutrition may impact the ability of the fish’s immune system to respond to the presence of the parasites (Ellis and Watanabe 1993). Although monogeneans are commonly found on wild fish but they rarely result to disease or death in free-ranging populations since under natural conditions they are usually not there in high numbers on individual fish. Nevertheless, any variation that results in crowding of wild fish, example drought and water diversion can boost the density of parasites on wild fish and therefore result in disease. Furthermore, release of monogenean-infested fishes to the natural environment can have potentially devastating effects (Fischthal and Allison 1994; Grutter et al., 2002). One example is the movement of resistant Atlantic salmon Salmo salar from Sweden that is suspected to be the source of Gyrodactylus salaris that caused heavy losses of susceptible salmon in Norwegian rivers. Further example is the introduction of stellate infested with monogenean sturgeon Acipenser stellatus from the Caspian Sea into Lake Aral that decimated the ship sturgeon Acipenser nudiventris population, it was susceptible to the monogenean.

1.2       Aim and Objectives

The aim and objectives of the study includes the following:

  • To investigate and evaluate the monogenean parasites of fish in Ebonyi river.
  • To create awareness on the possible health effects of Monogenean parasites of fish in Ebonyi
  • To use the data collected to assist in developing health policies and programmes of the government, corporate bodies and Non-governmental organizations.

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Topic: Health Effects of the Monogenean Parasites of Fish in Ebonyi River

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