Parasitic copepods affect morphospace and diet of larvae of a temperate reef fish

N. Jahnsen-Guzmán, V. Bernal-Durán, M. F. Landaeta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of ectoparasites on larvae of the clingfish Gobiesox marmoratus were evaluated at the dietary and morphometric levels. The larvae and ectoparasites were collected by nearshore plankton samplings during October, November and December 2013 off El Quisco Bay, central Chile. The standardized abundance of total larvae and those ectoparasitized larvae (PL) was positively related and high parasite prevalence was found throughout the sampling period (up to 38%). Geometric morphometrics analyses indicate main changes in the shape through early ontogeny and subtle but significant variations between PL and non-parasitized larvae (NPL). Prey composition varied between PL and NPL; small size (<6 mm standard length, LS) parasitized larval G. marmoratus ate mostly gastropod larvae, whereas small non-parasitized specimens ate mainly cirripede nauplii. All larger (>8 mm LS), pre-settlement stages parasitized by Trifur and, or Caligus copepods had content in their gut, suggesting that ectoparasites did not diminish prey capture in host with larger size. Morphometric and dietary changes occurring during larval development were decoupled, both for PL and NPL. The maintenance of a slender, more hydrodynamic body through pelagic development and the ingestion of less-mobile prey in PL suggests non-lethal effects of ectoparasitism on rocky-reef fish larvae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-346
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Caligidae
  • clingfish
  • geometrics morphometrics
  • Gobiesox marmoratus
  • gut content
  • Pennellidae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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