Monogenean fauna of alien tilapias (Cichlidae) in south China.
Tilapias are important aquaculture fishes that have been introduced widely all over the world, often carrying their monogenean parasites with them. An extensive investigation on monogeneans of invasive tilapias was conducted in 19 natural water sources in south China between July 2015 and December 2017. We found nine known species of monogeneans, i.e., Enterogyrus coronatus, E. malmbergi, Cichlidogyrus cirratus, C. halli, C. sclerosus, C. thurstonae, C. tilapiae, Scutogyrus longicornis, Gyrodactylus cichlidarum, and one unknown Gyrodactylus species. In addition to reporting ten new hosts and four new geographical records, we observed new morphological characteristics of these species. Observation on living specimens of Enterogyrus spp. demonstrated that these two species have characteristic opisthaptoral retraction capacities, while the opisthaptor glands were not observed in our specimens of E. coronatus and E. malmbergi. The morphological differences of the accessory piece of the male copulatory complex between C. cirratus and C. mbirizei (character for species differentiation) could result from the observation at different perspectives, which indicates that C. mbirizei is likely a synonym of C. cirratus. A more detailed structure of the sclerotized parts of Cichlidogyrus spp. and S. longicornis were revealed by scanning electron microscopy. As was the case for the monogeneans found on alien tilapias from other geographic regions, the present study confirmed the high potential of these monogeneans to establish populations in new habitats.