Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Infection of Diplostomum spp. in invasive round gobies in the St. Lawrence River, Canada.

Abstract

The round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) is a successful invader of the Great Lakes-St Lawrence River basin that harbours a number of local parasites. The most common are metacercariae of the genus Diplostomum. Species of Diplostomum are morphologically difficult to distinguish but can be separated using molecular techniques. While a few species have been sequenced from invasive round gobies in this study system, their relative abundance has not been documented. The purpose of this study was to determine the species composition of Diplostomum spp. and their relative abundance in round gobies in the St Lawrence River by sequencing the barcode region of cytochrome c oxidase I. In 2007-2011, Diplostomum huronense (=Diplostomum sp. 1) was the most common, followed in order by Diplostomum indistinctum (=Diplostomum sp. 4) and Diplostomum indistinctum sensu Galazzo, Dayanandan, Marcogliese & McLaughlin (2002). In 2012, the most common species infecting the round goby in the St Lawrence River was D. huronense, followed by D. indistinctum and Diplostomum gavium (=Diplostomum sp. 3). The invasion of the round goby in the St Lawrence River was followed by a decline of Diplostomum spp. in native fishes to low levels, leading to the previously published hypothesis that the presence of the round goby has led to a dilution effect. Herein, it is suggested that despite the low infection levels in the round goby, infections still may lead to spillback, helping to maintain Diplostomum spp. in native fishes, albeit at low levels.