Table of Contents
International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2011, Article ID 471480, 15 pages
Review Article

The Monogenean Parasite Fauna of Cichlids: A Potential Tool for Host Biogeography

1ISE-M, UMR5554 CNRS, UR226 IRD (ex-ORSTOM), Université Montpellier II—CC 063, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
2Laboratório de Ecologia Molecular e Parasitologia Evolutiva, Grupo Integrado de Aquicultura e Estudos Ambientais, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Setor de Ciências Biológicas, Departamento de Zoologia, Caixa Postal 19073, CEP 81531-980, Curitiba, PR, Brazil
3Ichthyology Unit, African Zoology Department, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Leuvensesteenweg 13, 3080 Tervuren, Belgium
4Laboratory of Animal Diversity and Systematics, Biology Department, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Charles Deberiotstraat 32, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
5Laboratoire de Parasitologie et d'Ecologie, Département de Biologie et Physiologie Animales, Université de Yaoundé I, BP 812, Yaoundé, Cameroon

Received 15 December 2010; Revised 21 February 2011; Accepted 19 April 2011

Academic Editor: Stephan Koblmüller

Copyright © 2011 Antoine Pariselle et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We discuss geographical distribution and phylogeny of Dactylogyridea (Monogenea) parasitizing Cichlidae to elucidate their hosts' history. Although mesoparasitic Monogenea (Enterogyrus spp.) show typical vicariant distribution, ectoparasitic representatives from different continents are not considered sister taxa, hence their distribution cannot result from vicariance alone. Because of the close host-parasite relationship, this might indicate that present-day cichlid distribution may also reflect dispersal through coastal or brackish waters. Loss of ectoparasites during transoceanic migration, followed by lateral transfer from other fish families might explain extant host-parasite associations. Because of its mesoparasitic nature, hence not subject to salinity variations of the host's environment, Enterogyrus could have survived marine migrations, intolerable for ectoparasites. Host-switches and salinity transitions may be invoked to explain the pattern revealed by a preliminary morphological phylogeny of monogenean genera from Cichlidae and other selected Monogenea genera, rendering the parasite distribution explicable under both vicariance and dispersal. Testable hypotheses are put forward in this parasitological approach to cichlid biogeography. Along with more comprehensive in-depth morphological phylogeny, comparison with molecular data, clarifying dactylogyridean evolution on different continents and from various fish families, and providing temporal information on host-parasite history, are needed to discriminate between the possible scenarios.