Acta parasitologica

Eye fluke infection status in Baltic cod, Gadus morhua, after three decades and their use as ecological indicators.

PMID 26204178


Eye flukes of the genus Diplostomum were recorded with a prevalence of 7.4% and a mean intensity of 11.9 (range 1-75) parasites per fish in eye lenses of a total of 188 Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, sampled in the Southeastern Baltic Sea from March 2013 to February 2014. A slight decrease of infection level, among the fish with body length ranging from 30 to 89.5 cm, was found when data were compared to a corresponding survey in the 1980s. Due to imprecise species identification of eye flukes based on morphometric analyses we present, as a baseline for further studies, rDNA sequences from a subsample of 19 eye flukes based on sequencing of a part of 18S, ITS-1, 5.8S, ITS-2 and part of 28S. We discuss the use of eye fluke recordings in Baltic cod as an environmental indicator due to the dependence of the parasite's life cycle on biotic (occurrence of snail and bird hosts) and abiotic (temperature and salinity) parameters.