Monogeneans (Platyhelminthes, Monogenea) parasites of Moenkhausia forestii (Characiformes, Characidae) from the reserva particular do Patrimonio Natural (RPPN) Cisalpina, Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brasil: morphological and molecular characterization
Due to its great territorial extension and the largest hydrographic network on the planet, Brazil is awarded one of the largest ichthyofaunistic freshwater diversities in the world. Proportionally the diversity of fish, the fish parasites has also a great variety. However, much of this richness has yet to be investigated, as parasites can indicate various biological aspects of their hosts, as well as being indicators of environmental quality; play an important role in the various ecosystems; regulate the abundance or density of host populations; stabilize food chains, etc. Some species of Characidae are widely distributed in Brazil, including Moenkhausia forestii Benine, Mariguela et Oliveira, 2009, popularly known as "lambari" or "piaba". To date, only two species of monogeneans have been reported in this host and no molecular approach has been performed on these parasites. Thus, the objective of the present study is to evaluate the fauna of monogenean parasites associated with M. forestii from the Private Natural Heritage Reserve (PNHR) Cisalpina, Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil. The taxonomic study will be performed with monogeneans previously collected and prepared, according to the appropriate methodology for morphological and molecular analysis. These parasites were collected from 60 fish, sampled with a sieve or seine net. The collections were performed according to the authorization SISBIO 60640-1 and the Ethics Committee on Animal Experimentation (Protocol CEUA 1093). Morphological and morphometric analyses of the parasites will be performed using a computerized image analysis system with Differential Interference Contrast. For these monogeneans, the ecological descriptors of parasitism (prevalence [P], mean intensity of infestation [IMI] and mean abundance [AM]) will be calculated. For molecular analysis, nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from parasite samples will be extracted and amplified with specific primers for 28S and COI genes. After obtaining the sequences, the phylogenetic reconstruction will be performed by the Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference methods. This study is expected to contribute to the knowledge of fish parasite fauna in the Neotropical region.
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