Nyctiphanes couchii as intermediate host for the acanthocephalan Bolbosoma balaenae in temperate waters of the NE Atlantic Academic Article uri icon


  • Cystacanths of the acanthocephalan Bolbosoma balaenae (Gmelin, 1790) were found encapsulated in the cephalothorax of the euphausiid Nyctiphanes couchii (Bell, 1853) from temperate waters in the NE Atlantic Ocean. Euphausiids were caught in locations outside the Ría de Vigo in Galicia, NW Spain, and prevalence of infection was up to 0.1%. The parasite was identified by morphological characters. Cystacanths were 8.09 ± 2.25 mm total length (mean ± SD) and had proboscises that consisted of 22 to 24 longitudinal rows of hooks, each of which had 8 or 9 hooks per row including 2 or 3 rootless ones in the proboscis base and 1 field of small hooks in the prebulbar part. Phylogenetic analyses of 18S rDNA and cytocrome c oxidase subunit I revealed a close relationship with other taxa of the family Polymorphidae (Meyer, 1931). The results extend northwards ot the known distribution of B. balaenae. Taxonomic affiliation of parasites and trophic ecology in the sampling area suggest that N. couchii is the intermediate host for B. balenae, and we suggest that the whales Balaenoptera physalus (Linnaeus, 1758) and B. acutorostrata (Lacepède, 1804) are its definitive hosts. This life cycle is probably completed with or without paratenic hosts.


  • Gregori, M
  • Aznar, FJ
  • Abollo, E
  • Roura, A
  • González, AF
  • Pascual, S

publication date

  • 2012