A Survey of the Fish Ectoparasites of the Essequibo River in the Iwokrama Forest, Guyana



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Very few surveys on ectoparasites have been done in Guyana. To address this deficit, a collecting expedition for fish and their ectoparasites was conducted on the Essequibo River within the Iwokrama Forest. During the 2014 wet season, 210 fish of 26 species were captured and analyzed for ectoparasites. Approximately 12% of fish had ectoparasites. Infected fish included 10 species from 2 orders (Characiformes and Siluriformes). Thirteen species of ectoparasites were found including 9 branchiurans, 2 isopods, 1 parasitic catfish (Stegophilinae), and 1 leech (Hirudinea). Characiformes hosted the majority of parasitic isopods where they occurred primarily on the body of the host, but some were found on the fins. Siluriformes hosted the majority of branchiurans. These ectoparasites were predominately found on the body of the host, with several attached to the head of the fish. Siluriformes also hosted most of the parasitic catfish that attached primarily to the fins with some parasites attaching to the body. Hirudinea was found exclusively on the fins of Siluriformes. Newly reported parasite species for Guyana include Argulus multicolor, Argulus juparanaensis, Argulus spinulosus, Argulus silvestrii, Dolops discoidalis, Dolops bidentata, Dolops nana, Dolops geayi, and Braga sp. This is the second reported Vanamea symmetrica encounter in Guyana since 1925, and the first report for the Essequibo River. Several new records of parasite-host interactions are also reported in this study.



Ectoparasites, Guyana, Iwokrama, Essequibo River, Characiformes, Siluriformes, Isopoda, Branchiura, Stegophilinae, Hirudinea