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Keywords:

  • monogenean capsalid;
  • cleaner fish;
  • parasite control;
  • marine fish farming

Abstract

The interaction between cultured barber goby Elacatinus figaro (cleaner fish) and the dusky grouper Epinephelus marginatus, and the efficiency of the cleaner fish in removing ectoparasites were evaluated. When the interaction between these two species was observed, cleaner fish showed a preference for the largest groupers. In a second trial, treatments: TWC (Control) – two groupers without a cleaner fish, T1C – two groupers with one cleaner fish, T3C – two groupers with three cleaner fish and T6C – two groupers with six cleaner fish were tested in four replicates. After 8 days, monogeneans were removed and identified as Neobenedenia melleni. The highest mean abundance of parasites was found on the groupers in the TWC group (37 parasites per host) and the lowest on those in the T6C group (4.1 parasites per host). By increasing the number of cleaner fish, a higher cleaning efficiency was obtained, as observed in T6C, where almost 90% of the parasites were removed. Possibly, this removal would have been complete if the number of cleaners had not been reduced in the treatments due to the mortalities observed. This study demonstrates the possibility of using gobies to remove monogeneans and in improving grouper health.