Epibiosis by Balaenophilus unisetus (Copepoda: Harpacticoida) in fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus (Mysticeti: Balaenopteridae), stranded in Margarita Island, Venezuela

Authors

  • Juan M. Esteves Universidad de Oriente, Núcleo Nueva Esparta, Escuela de Ciencias Aplicadas del Mar, Departamento de Acuacultura, Boca del Río, Isla de Margarita, Venezuela - Turtles Love, Barra de Parismina, Costa Rica
  • Rodrigo Acosta Universidad de Oriente, Núcleo Nueva Esparta, Escuela de Ciencias Aplicadas del Mar, Departamento de Acuacultura, Boca del Río, Isla de Margarita, Venezuela
  • Luis Bermúdez Ministerio del Poder Popular para el Ecosocialismo y Aguas, Dirección Estadal Nueva Esparta, La Asunción, Isla de Margarita, Venezuela
  • Carlos Lira Universidad de Oriente, Núcleo Nueva Esparta, Escuela de Ciencias Aplicadas del Mar, Departamento de Acuacultura, Boca del Río, Isla de Margarita, Venezuela
  • Arnaldo Figueredo Universidad de Oriente, Núcleo Nueva Esparta, Escuela de Ciencias Aplicadas del Mar, Departamento de Acuacultura, Boca del Río, Isla de Margarita, Venezuela

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.47193/mafis.3322020301108

Keywords:

Fin whale, Epibiont copepod, Marine mammals, Geographical distribution, Caribbean Sea

Abstract

Epibiosis is a common strategy in many aquatic organisms, and can be a very valuable study tool in ecology and conservation. Baleen whales are a very vulnerable taxon to fisheries, which requires great efforts for their preservation. The stranding of a male specimen of Balaenoptera physalus in northeastern Venezuelan waters made it possible to properly assess the epibiotic phenomenon. The cetacean integument was evaluated in situ and some barbs were transferred to the laboratory for detailed study. The only epibiont observed, although in very abundant numbers, was the harpacticoid copepod Balaenophilus unisetus. Different life stages were detected and described: adult, copepodites (five), and nauplii (three), accompanied by illustrations and proper measurements. Morphological, biogeographic and host-related features are presented and discussed. Highlights of this study are: the geographical scope expansion of the copepod, being the first record in Western Atlantic, Caribbean, and Venezuelan waters; the observation of a few discrepant morphological characters from those previously described, which could refer to different morphotypes of the epibiont; and the first detection of a third naupliar stage for B. unisetus.

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Author Biographies

Juan M. Esteves , Universidad de Oriente, Núcleo Nueva Esparta, Escuela de Ciencias Aplicadas del Mar, Departamento de Acuacultura, Boca del Río, Isla de Margarita, Venezuela - Turtles Love, Barra de Parismina, Costa Rica

ORCID ID 0000-0002-8396-5697

Carlos Lira , Universidad de Oriente, Núcleo Nueva Esparta, Escuela de Ciencias Aplicadas del Mar, Departamento de Acuacultura, Boca del Río, Isla de Margarita, Venezuela

ORCID ID 0000-0001-8338-5345

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Published

2020-10-20

How to Cite

1.
Esteves JM, Acosta R, Bermúdez L, Lira C, Figueredo A. Epibiosis by Balaenophilus unisetus (Copepoda: Harpacticoida) in fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus (Mysticeti: Balaenopteridae), stranded in Margarita Island, Venezuela. Mar Fish Sci [Internet]. 2020Oct.20 [cited 2020Nov.25];33(2):265-76. Available from: https://ojs.inidep.edu.ar/index.php/mafis/article/view/159