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Aggregata (Protozoa: Apicomplexa) infection in the common octopus Octopus vulgaris from the West Mediterranean Sea: The infection rates and possible effect of faunistic, environmental and ecological factors

April 22, 2013

Prevalence and distribution of the coccidian parasite Aggregata octopiana (Protozoa: Apicomplexa) in common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) in the Mediterranean Spanish coasts was studied. A total of 114 octopuses were sampled from 31 geographic sectors by trawl fleet, and whitish macroscopic oocysts typical of A. octopiana infection were recorded in 96% of octopuses in the digestive tract and mainly in intestine and spiral caecum. The univariate analysis showed that lesion extension varied according to specific octopus, environmental and faunistic variables. A subsequent multivariable analysis indicated that the risk of macroscopic lesions in the caecum was greater in males compared to females, in octopuses living in deeper compared to shallower waters and in hauls where the crustacean Pagurus excavatus was present. The study provides further evidence of the abundance of A. octopiana in octupus ecosystems urging for further studies to evaluate its health impact. The combined abundance of infected octopuses and P. excavatus merits attention.

Mayo-Hernández, Barcala E, Berriatua E, García-Ayala A, Muñoz P, in press. Aggregata (Protozoa: Apicomplexa) infection in the common octopus Octopus vulgaris from the West Mediterranean Sea: The infection rates and possible effect of faunistic, environmental and ecological factors, Journal of Sea Research, 2013, doi:10.1016/j.seares.2013.04.001. Article.

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