Authors: Jhonny Geovanny García-Teh, Víctor Manuel Vidal-Martínez, Ismael Mariño-Tapia, Flor Árcega-Cabrera, Uriel Ordoñez-López & M. Leopoldina Aguirre-Macedo

Metazoan parasites and their hosts experience the environmental influence of the seasonal presence of Western and Eastern subzones with different oceanographic conditions on the Yucatan continental shelf (YS). In addition, natural seeps and oil transport in the area lead to the presence of hydrocarbons. We hypothesized that the parasite infrapopulations and infracommunities of Haemulon aurolineatum will respond to environmental variability related with ongoing oceanographic subzone conditions of the YS. Spatial and multivariate statistical analyses were used to test this hypothesis. For 17 sampling sites along the YS, 55 parasite morphospecies were recovered from 146 fishes. There were significant differences in the number of parasite species between Western and Eastern subzones, but not in the number of parasite individuals. Spatial autocorrelation on environmental variables as a consequence of the Yucatan current was found. Overall, the parasite metrics suggested a region with a good ecosystem health condition naturally influenced by oceanographic processes.

Keywords: Parasites, Infracommunity, Tomtate grunt, Bioindicator, Contaminants, Oceanographic processes