Evaluation of Intestinal Parasitic Nematodes of Chrysichthys Macropogon and Eleotris Vittata in the Mid Cross River Basin, Ebonyi State

Evaluation of Intestinal Parasitic Nematodes of Chrysichthys Macropogon and Eleotris Vittata in the Mid Cross River Basin, Ebonyi State

Fish populations are subject to various natural and anthropogenic factors reducing their abundance (Sindermann, 2002). Parasites are one important factor, which might have a certain influence on the conservation state of fish. Parasitic diseases (invasive parasitoses) of marine fish are caused by animal parasites – protozoans, worms and crustaceans.

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Parasites can affect the entire body surface, the gills, the nose cavities, the digestive tube, the urinary, blood and breeding system as well as fish muscles (Zaharia et al, 2012).

Fish has a remarkable impact on the lives of many individuals and communities in almost all continents of the world, primarily as a major source of relatively cheap and affordable essential animal protein. Fish interacts with the various levels of food chain and influence the structures of lakes, streams and estuaries since, they are usually restricted to particular modes of life related to their food sources and reproductive requirements (Ashade et al., 2013). The ever increasing cost of beef leaves fish as the most feasible option in resolving protein shortage. Fish oil contains omega -3-essential fatty acids necessary for the proper functioning of the brain, heart and immune system (Hohn, 1999). It forms the main source of income for these communities, especially for the hinterland areas. Fishing and fish processing provide job opportunities for individuals and groups of people. Sport fishing is a major source of recreation.

The role of freshwater fish in transmitting parasites to humans had been known for a long time. Fish parasites and diseases remain some of the most important problems confronting the fishery biologist (Ravichandran et al., 2007). Fish may serve as parantenic/intermediate or definitive hosts of parasites that are harmful to man and animals.
As the world population grows, fish resources are being depleted at an alarming rate as a result of over harvesting and pollution, thus fish production is struggling to meet the increasing demand of the growing population. Poor environmental conditions and pollution often result in reduced immunity of fish and increased susceptibility to parasitic infestation and disease (Awaiechie, 2004). Parasites have a detrimental effect on fish tissues and on fish growth (Kabata, 1995). This results in economic losses in fishing industry and aquaculture(Ukoli,2007) and the share of such losses caused by helminth infections is not well known.

Knowledge on the parasites of fish is very important, since the parasites affect the fisheries production (Onusiriuka, 2001 and Oniye et al., 2004). Fish farming and fisheries have in recent times afforded man the opportunity to breed fish for commercial purposes. Helminth parasites however, frustrate the efforts as they are usually a potential source of discomfort to fishes (Ugwuzor, 1987). Despite the large fish population, the economic benefits remain marginal due to the prevailing diseases, poor nutrition, and reproductive inefficiency and management constraints. Investigation on fish parasites and disease in most parts of Nigeria is still lagging behind (Akenova, 1999). To fully develop and manage the diverse and rich fish resources in Nigeria’s inland water bodies, there is need for adequate knowledge of parasites that infect them with a view to adopting preventive and control measures to improve fish yield.
This study therefore aims at investigating the nematode parasites of wild Chrysichthys macropogon and Eleotris vittata collected from Ndibe beach Afikpo, Ebonyi State Nigeria.

1. To determine the nematode parasites of Chrysichthys macropogon and Eleotris vittata collected from wild at Ndibe Beach Afikpo, Ebonyi State.
2. To determine the morphometric values of Chrysichthys macropogon and Eleotris vittata


Chrysichthys is a genus of Claroteid catfishes native to Africa. Two fossil species are known. Chrysichthys macrotis which is known from the Miocene – Pliocene of the Albertine Rift in Uganda and Chrysichthys mahengeensis known from the Eocene of Mahenge, Tanzania (Ferraris, 2007). There are 42 species in the genus chrysichthys (Froese et al., 2011).

The genus Eleotris belongs to spinycheek sleepers with a circumglobal distribution in tropical and subtropical regions. Members of this genus are found in marine, brackish, and freshwater. There are 30 recognized species of the genus Eleotris (Froese et al., 2013). When it was extricated from Gobius 200 years ago, species included in the genus Eleotris were distinguished in that they lacked a cup-like base formed by joined pelvic fins, although the pelvic fins were described as connected by membranes (Bloch and Schneider, 1801). Through time the genus came to be identified with gobioid species with separate pelvic fins; species characterized by that feature were routinely tossed into the Eleotris bin throughout the 1800.s and early 1900.s (more than 200 species [Eschmeyer, 1998]). Although most of these species have been removed in turn to other genera, and in some cases families, the genus has never been revised or reviewed in its entirety and a number of nominal taxa remain for which validity has never been tested. Only two regional reviews have been accomplished. Akihito (1967) examined species from Japan and compared them to several other Indo-Pacific species. His study was particularly important in demonstrating the significance of the free neuromast patterns on the head for diagnosing species. More recently, Miller (1998) reviewed species from the eastern Atlantic. As did Akihito, he found cephalic free neuromast patterns and differences in squamation the most useful characters in separating species. Miller also offered what he termed a phenetic diagnosis of the genus based on the antrorse spine on the preoperculum, axial osteology and features of the cephalic lateralis system. He proposed that the genus Erotelis was a junior synonym of Eleotris as the former’s two included species shared these diagnostic features.

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Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordate
Class Actinopterygii
Order Siluriformes
Family Clarotecdae
Subfamily Claroteinae
Genus Chrysichthys

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordate
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Eleotridae
Subfamily Eleotrinae
Genus Eleotris

Fish is a necessary component of the aquatic fresh waters, serving not only as food for consumption but also as harvesters of primary and secondary production in the system (Anele, 1993) fish also function or serves as host to a number of parasites of man and animals. Information on the parasite of fish become particularly important as these parasites may affect fish’s production (Henderson, 2001).
Fish farming and aquaculture have in recent times brought humankind the opportunity and benefits to breed and grow in commercial quantities. Helminthes parasites tend to extricate it as they cause harmful effects through their parasitic relationship (Chabby et al, 2003).
Henderson et al. (1992) reported that the macro parasite like the platyhelminthes (flatworm-monogenean and Digenean) complete their life cycles on a single host. These helminthes are commonly found on the gills, oesphagus and scales of fishes and most common genera of these helminthes that infect fresh water fishes like the gyrodactylus and dactylogyrus though, they are common genera but differ in their modes of attachments to their hosts and reproductive stages.
Dactylogyrus species are found mainly in the gills of catfishes (Chubby, 1979). Khalil, (1971) recorded that Distichodus fishes carry both the larvae and adult forms of nematode and platyhelminths acanthocephalan. Edward, (1990) reported that the juvenile stages of both the nematodes and platyhelminthes are found at oesophagus while the adult stages arc seen obviously at the small and large intestines of Distichodus species. The juvenile fishes and fingerlings are more susceptible to infections under stress conditions (Williams and Jones, 1994).
Oniye and Ayanda, (2004) investigated the fish parasites of Chrysichthys avaratus and reported that cestodes occurred in majority 32 (13.33%) of the infected fish while the nematode-procamallamus laeviconchus and acanthocephalan Neoechinorynchus cylindratus occurred in low percentage as (0.83%) of each of the fish. Akinsanya et al, (2007) recovered cestode species, proteocephalus sp; an aspidogaster africanus and a nematode paracemacanus cyathophnarynx from the intestine of Chrysichythys nigrodigitalus.
Khali,(19S9) observed that large body size fishes poses well developed immune defense strategies against proliferation of some parasites. In this case, bigger fish are more comfortable to eat than smaller ones. Reports on helminthes parasites of fish on some rivers arc available for example in Anambra .River basin. Khali, (1989) investigated on helminthes parasite of Clarias reported a low rate of parasitic infestation in river system. According to his findings there were no correlation between sex of fish and the incidence of helminthes parasites. He recovered procamallanus laeviconchus from D. rostratus.

Insect larvae, detritus, crustaceans, mollusks, vegetable matter and young fishes has been variously reported as major food items of Chrysichthys in many African and Nigerian freshwater system, Although the diet has a lot of animal component and some other items such as diatoms.

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The Macropogon is an omnivore. A few workers like (Olaniyan, 2002) suggest a more restricted food spectrum for Chrysichthys. Tayid (2003) reported the food of C. auratus as consisting mainly of young fish and vegetable matters in the River Nile. The picture emerge from the above review is that nearly all the Chrysichthys are basically bottom feeders and the presence or predominance of a food item is more of function of their occurrence in the benthos than of the preference or selectively omnivorous, bottom feeder fish with a large proportion of animal components and detritus and also the feeding intensity is always low during the height of .the flood. There is a little diet change in the amount of food consumed and the fish are morphologically pre-adapted for their benthic omnivorous feeding habits.
Chrysichthys species are regarded as omnivorous detrivores (Oronsaye and Nakpodi, 2005). The morphology of Chrysichthys is adapted for bottom feeding although the stomach content may prove otherwise as the variety of food reflect the ability of fishes to obtain food from different locations. Morphological features therefore cannot limit Chrysichthys as exclusive bottom feeders (Idodo-umeh, 2003). The presence of fish scales in fish could be due to scale eating habits. This is in agreement with studies by (Idodo-umeh, 2003) on some specialized predators in tropical communities. However, the author cautioned that evidence available from the examination of the stomach contents is not conclusive as prey fish and fish remains from the substractum could also account for the presence of fish scales in stomach contents. The inclusion of sand grains in the stomach of fish has been attributed as an accidental ingestion along with other food items.

The similarity in the utilization of food items by both species as shown by schooner suggests interspecific composition since diet overlap is highly significant and the difference in the abundance and occurrence of food item between sexes suggest strategy to reduce intraspecific competition. The male of C. nigrodigitatus feed more on planktonic crustaceans while the female feed more on benthic insect laricae. Differences in the abundance of food items of C. nigroditatus between seasons may be as a result of the seasonal availability of food items, as Chaoborus recorded a significant higher occurrence during the dry season. This may be due the fact that Chaoborus larvae are better exposed to predation as a result of reduced water level, low turbidity and increase penetration of light into the river.

Studies on food and feeding habits gives information on seasonal changes of fish because the type and magnitude of food available as well as the season it occurs plays important role in the history of the fish (Akpan and Isangedhi, 2005). There are reports (Ahmad, 1980, Hadzley, 1997; Khan et al., 2008) that discuss these issues but the distribution of fish as related to the distribution of prey has not been studied extensively. Udo and Akpan (2004) investigated intersexual and spatial heterogeneity in trophic attributes of the sleeper, Bostrychus africanus (Eleotridae) in the Aqua Iboe estuary, also in Nigeria. The authors found out that there was variation in the ingestion of food objects by the sexes and that there was significant increase in the feeding intensity by females than by males.

Fish as stated earlier provides throughout the tropics a source of first class protein for human consumption in Nigeria, fish is one of the main sources of animal protein in man’s food (Awachie, 1995). It is also a source of income especially to river line areas.
Fish has high economic importance and its uses are as follows;
 Fish is used primarily as human food (Ugwuzor, 1987; Umoeren et al, 1988; Onsusiriuka, 2001 and Yakubu et al, 2002). From fish especially (the fin fish) one obtains not only an abundant calorific value, especially if the fish is faulty, but also high quantity protein some fat-soluble vitamins considerable amount of combined phosphorous and other elements necessary for the maintenance of a healthy body. It is however, the protein content of the fish that is usually more commonly emphasized (Moses, 1993 and Ugwuozor, 1987). Fish proteins contain most of the essential amino acids, in particular the three that are lacking in proteins of plant origin; Lysine, methionine and tryptophan.
Parts of fishes are also useful for various purposes;
i. The .sales of some fish yields a substance that when coated on the inside of glass beads makes artificial pearls.
ii. The skin of some cartilaginous fishes are used in making leather and materials for polishing.
iii. The lining of the air bladder of sturgeons are used to make glass; a shiny powder used in soap making (Moses, 1993).

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Husbandry practices such as overcrowding and environmental changes in water quality lead to immune compromised conditions of Chrysichthys species, therefore render it prone to infections by both micro and macro parasites. As a result, the numbers of parasites increase exponentially on harmed fishes which in turn infest the fish populations and fecundity rates (Williams and Jones, 1994).


Poor feeding of fishes might result to depressed immune system and predispose the fishes to high parasitic attacks. In fish developments, good diets are required to enable the fish to survive parasitic infestation, since they are prone to infections (Williams and Jones, 1994).
HIGH POPULATION DENSITY: this leads to stress condition and facilitates parasitic disseminations. Some direct transmission from one host to another like protozoa, monogenean- trematodes. It is much easier for the parasite to find a high-density population and this ensure the parasite reproduce more (Paperna, 1980).

WATER QUALITY: level of water transparency determines the survival of some fishes. Water with good amount of dissolved oxygen, moderate temperatures, salinity, uniqueness and even the molecular structure determines the quality of water.
Therefore, poor water quality can procreate a stressful condition for fishes and this could lead to a higher incidence of parasite outbreak as a result of this many young and adult fishes die due to the attack (William and Jones, 1994).

WATER RUN OFF DURING RAINFALLS, WATER RUNDOWN INTO THE NEARBY STREAMS, RIVERS AND PONDS: When this happens oxygen depletion occurs, incidence of parasites increase and this will finally result to increase in mortality rate of some fishes.
AGRICULTURAL PRACTICE: Direct applications of fertilizer to our farmland cause harms to our aquatic environment. During rainfall, they are carried down to our water bodies or ponds. This becomes toxic to aquatic life, because overgrowths of plant are now prominent. The fishes suffer from low oxygen level and space. Therefore, when these conditions, parasite invasions become high and this leads to fish mortality.
SALINITY: Since water environment vary from the amount of salt concentrations. Some fishes survive in marine environment where this salt concentration is very high while some lives in fresh water, with moderate salt concentration. Though, some thrive best in water with little or salt concentration.
Salinity therefore is an important factor that influences the infestation of parasites. For example, Anyloodium species, which are dinoflagellate, can thrive best in brackish and marine water while trichodina species can only tolerate fresh water and are very sensitive to salt (Willams and Jones, 1994).

This is the tank or coupe, which contains high densities of fresh water and therefore harbors a good number of parasite organisms. Here, fishes are grown for consumption and commercial purpose. Ecto-parasite such as monogeneans trematodes complete their development in this environment but, parasite such as copepods or leeches lay eggs and thrive well in muddy or earthen ponds. The mud can be reserves for cysts of Dinoflagellates (Anthloodium species) or snails, which can serve as their intermediate host for parasites.
In degenean trematades they grow rapidly and are more difficult to control as they are more vulnerable bigger fishes (Hoffman, 1977).

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