Aquatic Parasite Information - a database on parasites of freshwater and brackish fish in the United Kingdom

Brewster, Bernice (2016) Aquatic Parasite Information - a database on parasites of freshwater and brackish fish in the United Kingdom. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


A checklist of parasites of freshwater fish in the UK is an important source of information concerning hosts and their distribution for all aspects of scientific research. An interactive, electronic, web-based databse, Aquatic Parasite Information has been designed, incorporating all freshwater and brackish species of fish, parasites, taxonomy, synonyms, authors and associated hosts, together with records for their distribution. One of the key features of Aquatic Parasite Information is this checklist can be updated. Interrogation of Aquatic Parastie Information has revealed that some parasites of freshwater and brackish species of fish, such as the unicellular groups or those metzoans that are difficult to identify using morphological characters, are under reported. Aquatic Parasite Information identified the monogenean family Dactylogyridae and the cestodes infecting UK freshwater fish as under-represented groups, owing to the difficulties identifying them morphologically. Both the Dactylogyridae and cestodes have implications for pathology, outbreaks of disease and morbidity in freshwater fish in the UK, therefore accurate identification is critical. Studies were undertaken using both standard morphological techniques of histology and molecular techniques to identify dactylogyrid species and tapeworms commonly found parasitizing fish in the UK. Morphological studies demonstrated that histological processes could lead to distortion of the specimins and permanent mounting may affect the orientation which may obscure vital characteristics. Moleculr techniques were successfully employed using ITS1 for the Dactylogyridae and cox1 and r28s for the cestodes, to demonstrate genetic variability for the interspecific identification of species. Histology, scanning electron microscopy and molecular techniques have also identified an Atractolytocestus sp. tapeworm, parasitizing carp in the UK, as a potentially new species. Analysis of parasite records extracted from Aquatic Parasite Information has implicated freshwater fishery management policies as impacting on the dissemination and distribution of parasites, resulting in the spread of some species and decline of others.

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