[MARMAM] Distribution and genetic diversity of Anisakis spp. in cetaceans from the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea

Alexandros Frantzis afrantzis at otenet.gr
Wed Aug 31 10:30:59 PDT 2022

Dear all,

On behalf of Paolo Cipriani and all the co-authors, I would like to let 
you know about our recent paper in */Nature /**(Scientific reports)*.

/*Distribution and genetic diversity of Anisakis spp. in cetaceans from 
the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea */

Paolo Cipriani1,2*, Marialetizia Palomba3, Lucilla Giulietti2, Federica 
Marcer4, Sandro Mazzariol4, Mario Santoro5, Renato Aco Alburqueque1, 
Pablo Covelo6, Alfredo López6,7, M. Begoña Santos8, Graham J. Pierce9, 
Andrew Brownlow10, Nicholas J. Davison10, Barry McGovern11, Alexandros 
Frantzis12, Paraskevi Alexiadou12, Dánjal Petur Højgaard13, Bjarni 
Mikkelsen13, Michela Paoletti3, Giuseppe Nascetti3, Arne Levsen2 & 
Simonetta Mattiucci1*


Parasite biodiversity in cetaceans represents a neglected component of 
the marine ecosystem. This study aimed to investigate the distribution 
and genetic diversity of anisakid nematodes of the genus Anisakis 
sampled in cetaceans from the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and the 
Mediterranean Sea. A total of 478 adults and pre-adults of Anisakis spp. 
was identified by a multilocus genetic approach (mtDNA cox2, EF1 α − 1 
nDNA and nas 10 nDNA gene loci) from 11 cetacean species. A clear 
pattern of host preference was observed for Anisakis spp. at cetacean 
family level: A. simplex (s.s.) and A. pegreffii infected mainly 
delphinids; A. physeteris and A. brevispiculata were present only in 
physeterids, and A. ziphidarum occurred in ziphiids. The role of 
cetacean host populations from different waters in shaping the 
population genetic structure of A. simplex (s.s.), A. pegreffii and A. 
physeteris was investigated for the first time. Significant genetic 
sub-structuring was found in A. simplex (s.s.) populations of the 
Norwegian Sea and the North Sea compared to those of the Iberian 
Atlantic, as well as in A. pegreffii populations of the Adriatic and the 
Tyrrhenian Seas compared to those of the Iberian Atlantic waters. 
Substantial genetic homogeneity was detected in the Mediterranean Sea 
population of A. physeteris. This study highlights a strong preference 
by some Anisakis spp. for certain cetacean species or families. 
Information about anisakid biodiversity in their cetacean definitive 
hosts, which are apex predators of marine ecosystems, acquires 
particular importance for conservation measures in the context of global 
climate change phenomena.

This an open access publication that can be reached from the following link:


For further details, please contact the first author at: 
paolo.cipriani at hi.no

Best wishes,



Dr. Alexandros Frantzis
Scientific director
Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute
Terpsichoris 21
16671 Vouliagmeni,
Tel.: +30-210-8960108
e-mail:afrantzis at otenet.gr  

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