Current state of knowledge of eumetazoan parasites of chilean freshwater ecosystems

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2006
Authors:Olmos, V, Muñoz, G
Pagination:122 - 139
Date Published:2006

The metazoan parasite fauna of Chilean freshwater hosts consists of approximately 60 parasite taxa. Fifty three percent of the infections were recorded to the genus or family level, with the remaining 47% to species level. Parasites from 5 Phyla have been found: Arthropoda, Acanthocephala, Nematoda, Platyhelminthes and Myxozoa. Altogether, these phyla comprise 8 classes, 19 orders and 31 families. The phylum Platyhelminthes was taxonomically the most diverse (3 classes, 11 orders and 19 families), in which Digenea was the class with the largest number of species. Forty eight percent of the all parasite species recorded are endemic. Among endemic parasites, 71% were found in amphibians. Records of the parasite distributions, in freshwater systems of Chile, are mainly in the central-south zone. However, most species have been recorded between the regions VIII and IX (36-39º S). There are hardly any records of parasites in invertebrate hosts. Consequently, the life cycles of these parasites in their natural environments are not understood. The conservation status of parasite species is completelyunknown in freshwater systems. However, the biodiversity of parasites in natural environments depends on the conservation of their hosts.

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