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Sclerocollum saudii Al-Jahdali, 2010 (Acanthocephala: Cavisomidae) as a sentinel for heavy-metal pollution in the Red Sea

Hassanine, R.M. El-S., Al-Hasawi, Z.M., Hariri, M.S., Touliabah, H. El-S.
Journal of helminthology 2019 v.93 no.2 pp. 177-186
Acanthocephala, Cestoda, Siganus rivulatus, aquatic ecosystems, bioaccumulation factor, cadmium, environmental monitoring, fish, heavy metals, helminths, host-parasite relationships, intestines, intraspecific competition, lead, liver, muscle tissues, muscles, pollution, sediments, Egypt, Red Sea
Currently, fish helminth parasites, especially cestodes and acanthocephalans, are regarded as sentinel organisms to elucidate metal pollution in aquatic ecosystems. Here, 34 specimens of the fish Siganus rivulatus were collected in the Red Sea, from a seriously polluted, small lagoon named Sharm-Elmaya Bay, at Sharm El-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt; 22 (64.7%) were infected by Sclerocollum saudii (Acanthocephala: Cavisomidae). Thus, 22 natural infrapopulations (26–245 individuals) of this parasite were collected from infected fish. Samples of water and sediments from the bay, samples of muscle, intestine and liver from each fish, and samples from the parasite were taken for analysis of heavy metals (cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb)). Both Cd and Pb concentrations in sediments were higher than those in water. The concentration of these metals were significantly higher in tissues (intestine, liver and muscle) of non-infected fish than those in infected fish, with Pb concentrations consistently higher than those of Cd, and both were drastically decreased in the order: liver > intestine > muscle. Metal concentrations in this acanthocephalan were much higher than those in its fish host. There were strong negative relationships between metal concentrations in tissues (intestine, liver and muscle) of infected fish and infrapopulation size, and between metal concentrations in the acanthocephalan and its infrapopulation size. These relationships strongly suggest competition for these metals between the fish host and its acanthocephalan parasite, and intraspecific competition among acanthocephalan individuals for available metals in the fish intestine. Bioconcentration factors were relatively high, since the mean Cd concentration in S. saudii was 239, 68 and 329 times higher than those in intestine, liver and muscle tissues, respectively, of its fish host. Also, mean Pb concentration was 55, 13 and 289 times higher than those in these tissues, respectively. The host–parasite system described here seems to be promising for biomonitoring of metal pollution in the Red Sea.