University of Oulu

Lumme J., Ziętara M.S. 2018: Horizontal transmission of the ectoparasite Gyrodactylus arcuatus (Monogenea: Gyrodactylidae) to the next generation of the three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus. Folia Parasitol. 65: 006.

Horizontal transmission of the ectoparasite Gyrodactylus arcuatus (Monogenea: Gyrodactylidae) to the next generation of the three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus

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Author: Lumme, Jaakko1; Ziętara, Marek S.2
Organizations: 1Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Finland
2Faculty of Biology, University of Gdańsk, Poland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Biology Centre CAS, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-06-12


In the parthenogenetic monogeneans of the genus Gyrodactylus Nordmann, 1832, the genetic diversity within or between hosts is determined by the relative roles of lateral transmission and clonal propagation. Clonality and limited transmission lead to high-amplitude metapopulation dynamics and strong genetic drift. In Baltic populations of the three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus Linnaeus, the local mitochondrial diversity of Gyrodactylus arcuatus Bychowsky, 1933 is very high, and spatial differentiation weak. To understand the transmission dynamics in a single location, the transmission of the parasite from adults to next generation sticklebacks was investigated in a northern Baltic brackish water location. By sequencing 777 nt of cox1, as many as 38 separate mitochondrial haplotypes were identified. In August, the intensity of gyrodactylid infection on adult hosts was high, the haplotype diversity (h) was extreme and differentiation between fish was negligible (total h = 0.926, mean h = 0.938). In October, only 46% of the juvenile sticklebacks carried G. arcuatus. The number of parasites per young fish followed a Poisson distribution 0.92 ± 1.04 (mean ± SD) on October 2, and was clearly overdispersed 2.38 ± 5.00 on October 25. The total haplotype diversity of parasites on juveniles was nearly as high as in adults (h = 0.916), but the mean per fish was only h = 0.364 (FST = 0.60), due to low intensity of infection and rapid clonal propagation of early arrivals. The initial first come first served advantage of the first gyrodactylid colonisers will be lost during the host adulthood via continuous transmission. Nesting and polygamy are suggested as factors maintaining the high genetic diversity of the parasite population. The transmission dynamics and, consequently, the population structure of Baltic G. arcuatus is fundamentally different from that of G. salaris Malmberg, 1957, on the Baltic salmon Salmo salar Linnaeus.

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Series: Folia parasitologica
ISSN: 0015-5683
ISSN-E: 1803-6465
ISSN-L: 0015-5683
Volume: 65
Article number: 006
DOI: 10.14411/fp.2018.006
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
Funding: The study was supported by The Finnish Academy (grants 63787 and 134592 to JL).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 134592
Detailed Information: 134592 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2018 The Authors. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited