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A model for studying isolation mechanisms in parasite populations: the genus Lepeophtheirus (Copepoda, Caligidae).

Laboratoire de Parasitologie Comparée, UA 698, CNRS, Université des Sciences et Techniques du Languedoc, Montpellier, France.
Journal of Experimental Zoology 06/1990; 254(2):207-14. DOI: 10.1002/jez.1402540213
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In the Mediterranean, the parasitic copepod Lepeophtheirus thompsoni Baird, 1850 specifically infests turbot (Psetta maxima L., 1758), whereas L. europaensis Zeddam, Berrebi, Renaud, Raibaut, and Gabrion, 1988 infests brill (Scophthalmus rhombus L., 1758) and flounder (Platichthys flesus L., 1758). Experimental infestation of turbot by copepods from each of the three fish species showed an absence of any physiological incompatibility preventing natural development of the two parasite species, at least on one host species, i.e., the turbot. Moreover, interspecific hybrids were obtained experimentally, which implies that 1) there is no strict genetic barrier between the two species and 2) the natural prezygotic isolation results from a choice of the most favorable habitat. We discuss the origin and possible consequences of the presence, in the Mediterranean, of L. europaensis on brill and flounder, two hosts separated by their taxonomic status and ecobiology.

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