Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Type: Article
Published: 2023-01-26
Page range: 52-64
Abstract views: 360
PDF downloaded: 33

Monogenea on exotic Indian freshwater fish. 5. First report of pathogenic Gussevia asota (Platyhelminths) from Oscar Astronotus ocellatus (Agassiz 1831) (Perciformes: Cichlidae)

1Department of Zoology, University of Lucknow-226 007, Uttar Pradesh, India
1Department of Zoology, University of Lucknow-226 007, Uttar Pradesh, India
Pisces exotic fish Gussevia asota monogenean parasite ornamental fish trade quarantine procedures 28S rRNA gene


The neotropical Oscar Astronotus ocellatus has been translocated worldwide as an ornamental fish species with significant economic importance. Twelve adult individuals of A. ocellatus collected from aquaria shops in northern and eastern India were examined for monogenean parasites. Based on morphological methods, all fish samples were found to be infested with Gussevia asota, with a 100% prevalence and high mean intensity [30.16 ± 9.70 (18-48, n=12)]. Molecular analysis of the partial 28S rRNA gene sequence (675 bp), followed by phylogenetic analysis, confirmed the parasite’s identity further. This is the first report of G. asota in India and highlights the need to update and strengthen the quarantine procedures concerning the import of ornamental fish.



  1. Abdallah, V.D., Azevedo, R.K. & Luque, J.L. (2008) Notes on the morphology of two species of Gussevia Kohn & Paperna (Monogenea: Dactylogyridae) parasitic on Astronotus ocellatus (Agassiz) (Perciformes: Cichlidae) from Brazil. Pan-American Journal of Aquatic Sciences, 3, 101–104.
    Azevedo, R.K., Abdallah, V.D. & Luque, J.L. (2011) Biodiversity of fish parasites from Guandu river, Southeastern Brazil: an ecological approach. Neotropical Helminthology, 5, 185–199.
    Bomford, M. & Glover, J. (2004) Risk assessment model for the import and keeping of exotic freshwater and estuarine finfish. Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra, 125 pp.
    Bush, A.O., Lafferty, K.D., Lotz, J.M. & Shostak, A.W. (1997) Parasitology meets ecology on its own terms: Margolis et al. revisited. Journal of Parasitology, 83, 575–583.
    CABI (2022) Astronotus ocellatus (Oscar) In: Invasive Species Compendium. Available from: (accessed 23 May 2022)
    Cardinale, B.J., Duffy, J.E., Gonzalez, A., Hooper, D.U., Perrings., C, Venail, P., Narwani, A., Mace, G.M., Tilman, D., Wardle, D.A., Kinzig, A.P., Daily, G.C., Loreau, M., Grace, J.B., Larigauderie, A., Srivastava, D.S. & Naeem, S. (2012) Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity. Nature, 486, 59–67.
    Chang, A.L., Grossman, J.D., Spezio, T.S., Weiskel, H.W., Blum, J.C., Burt, J.W., Muir, A.A., Piovia-Scott, J., Veblen, K.E. & Grosholz, E.D. (2009) Tackling aquatic invasions: risks and opportunities for the aquarium fish industry. Biological Invasions, 11, 773–785.
    Courtenay Jr., W.R., Sahlman, H.F., Miley II, W.W. & Herrema, D.J. (1974) Exotic fishes in fresh and brackish waters of Florida. Biological Conservation, 6, 292–302.
    Delgado, P.M., Delgado, J.P.M. & Orbe, R.I. (2014) Parasitism by Gussevia asota in gills of juveniles of Astronotus ocellatus cultured in the Peruvian Amazon. Journal of, 8, 61–66.
    Evers, H.G., Pinnegar, J.K. & Taylor, M.I. (2019) Where are they all from?—sources and sustainability in the ornamental freshwater fish trade. Journal of Fish Biology, 94, 909–916.
    Farias, I.P., Orti, G. & Meyer. A. (2000) Total evidence: molecules, morphology, and the phylogenetics of cichlid fishes. Journal of Experimental Zoology, 288, 76–92.<76::AID-JEZ8>3.0.CO;2-P
    Ferreira, E.J.G. (1981) Alimentação dos adultos de doze espécies de cichlideos (Perciformes, Cichlidae) do rio Negro, Brasil. M.Sc. Thesis, INPA/FUA, Manaus, 242 pp.
    Fontenele, O. (1982) Contribuição para o conhecimento da biologia do apaiari, Astronotus ocellatus (Spix) (Pisces, Cichlidae), em cativeiro. Aparelho de reprodução, hábitos de desova e prolificidade. Revista Brasileira de Biologia, 11, 467–84.
    Fontenele, O. & Nepomuceno, F.H. (1983) Exame dos resultados da introdução do Astronotus ocellatus (Agassiz, 1849), em açudes do Nordeste do Brasil. Boletim Técnico do DNOCS, 41, 85–99.
    Fracalossi, D.M., Allen, M.E., Nichols, D.K. & Oftedal, O.T. (1998) Oscars, Astronotus ocellatus, have a dietary requirement for vitamin C. The Journal of Nutrition, 128, 1745–1751.
    Friedman, M., Keck, B.P., Dornburg, A., Eytan R.I., Martin, C.H., Hulsey, C.D., Wainwright P.C. & Near, T.J. (2013) Molecular and fossil evidence place the origin of cichlid fishes long after Gondwanan rifting. Proceedings of the Royal Society, 280, 20131733.
    Froese, R. & Pauly, D. (Eds.) (2022) FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. June 2022. Available from: (accessed 22 May 2022).
    Fury, J.R. & Morello, F.A. (1994) The contribution of an exotic fish, the Oscar, to the sport fishery of the Everglades Water Conservation Areas. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 48, 474-481.
    Hadfield, C.A. & Clayton, L.A. (2011) Fish quarantine: Current practices in public Zoos and Aquaria. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 42, 641–650.
    Hall, T. (1999) BioEdit: A user-friendly biological sequence alignment editor and analysis program for Windows 95/98/NT. Nucleic Acids Symposium Series, 41, 95–98.
    Hassouna, N., Michot, B. & Bachellerie, J.P. (1984) The complete nucleotide sequence of mouse 28S rRNA gene. Implications for the process of size increase of the large subunit rRNA in higher eukaryotes. Nucleic Acids Research, 12, 3563–3583.
    Kahn, S.A., Wilson, D.W., Perera, R.P., Hayder, H. & Gerrity, S.E. (1999) Import risk analysis on live ornamental finfish. Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, Canberrra, 172 pp.
    Kayış, Ş., Balta, F., Serezli, R. & Er, A. (2013) Parasites on different ornamental fish species in Turkey. Journal of FisheriesSciences.Com, 7, 114–120.
    Kim, J.H., Hayward, C.J., Joh, S.J. & Heo, G.J. (2002) Parasitic infections in live freshwater tropical fishes imported to Korea. Diseases of aquatic Organisms, 52, 169–173.
    King, T.A. (2019) Wild caught ornamental fish: A perspective from the UK ornamental aquatic industry on the sustainability of aquatic organisms and livelihoods. Journal of Fish Biology, 94, 925–936.
    Kohn, A. & Paperna, I. (1964) Mono-genetic trematodes from aquarium fishes. Revista Brasileira de Biologia, 24, 145–149.
    Kritsky, D.C., Thatcher, V.E. & Boeger, W.A. (1989) Neotropical Monogenea. 15. dactylogyrids from the gills of Brazilian Cichlidae with proposal of Sciadicleithrum gen. n. (Dactylogyridae). Proceedings of Helminthological Society of Washington, 56, 128–140.
    Liang, S.H., Walther, B.A. & Shieh, B.S. (2020) Determinants of establishment success: Comparing alien and native freshwater fishes in Taiwan. PLoS ONE, 15, e0236427.
    Lymbery, A.J., Morine, M., Kanani, H.G., Beatty, S.J. & Morgan, D.L. (2014) Co-invaders: The effects of alien parasites on native hosts. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 3, 171–177.
    Mendlová, M., Desdevises, Y., Civanova, K., Pariselle, A. & Šimková, A. (2012) Monogeneans of West African Cichlid Fish: Evolution and Cophylogenetic Interactions. PLoS ONE, 7, e37268.
    Mendoza-Franco, E.F., Aguirre-Macedo, M.L. & Vidal-Martinez, V.M. (2007) New and previously described species of Dactylogyridae (Monogenoidea) from the gills of Panamanian freshwater fishes (Teleostei). Journal of Parasitology, 93, 761–771.
    Mendoza-Franco, E.F., Scholz, T. & Rozkosna, P. (2010) Tucunarella n. gen. and Other dactylogyrids (Monogenoidea) from cichlid fish (Perciformes) from Peruvian Amazonia. Journal of Parasitology, 96, 491–498.
    Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) (2022) Ornamental fishes important species. Available from: (accessed 22 May 2022)
    Muusze, B., Marcon, J., van den Thillart, G. & Almeida-Val, V. (1998) Hypoxia tolerance of Amazon fish: Respirometry and energy metabolism of the cichlid Astronotus ocellatus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 120, 151–156.
    National Fisheries Development (NFDB) (2022) National Fisheries Development Board. Available from: (accessed 22 May 2022).
    Pouyaud, L., Desmarais, E., Deveney, M. & Pariselle, A. (2006) Phylogenetic relationships among monogenean gill parasites (Dactylogyridea, Ancyrocephalidae) infesting tilapiine hosts (Cichlidae): systematic and evolutionary implications. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 38, 241–249.
    Šimková, A., Matějusová, I. & Cunningham, C.O. (2006) A molecular phylogeny of the Dactylogyridae sensu Kritsky & Boeger (1989) (Monogenea) based on the D1-D3 domains of large subunit rDNA. Parasitology, 133, 43–53.
    Šmiga, L., Košuthová, L., Koščo, J., Košuth, P., Pekárik, L., Fečkaninová, A. & Lazar, P. (2016) First report of Gussevia asota (Monogenea: Dactylogyridae), destructive parasite of Astronotus ocellatus (Perciformes: Cichlidae) in Europe. Biologia, 71, 547–550.
    Soares, M.G.M., Costa, E.L., Siqueira-Souza, F.K., Anjos, H.D.B., Yamamoto, K.C. & Freitas, C.E.C. (2008) Peixes de lagos do médio Rio Solimões. Manaus, Amazonas, 175 pp.
    Staeck, W. & Linke, H. (1995) American cichlids. II. Large cichlids: a handbook for their identification, care, and breeding. Tetra Press, Melle, 216 pp.
    Stecher, G., Tamura, K. & Kumar, S. (2020) Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) for macOS. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 33, 1870–1874.
    Stiassny, M.L.J. (1987) Cichlid familial intrarelationships and the placement of the neotropical genus Cichla (Perciformes, Labroidei). Journal of Natural History, 21, 1311–1331.
    Streelman, J.T., Zardoya, R., Meyer, A. & Karl, S.A. (1998) Multilocus phylogeny of cichlid fishes (Pisces: Perciformes): evolutionary comparison of microsatellite and single-copy nuclear loci. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 15, 798–808.
    Tavares-Dias, M., Sousa, T.J.S.M. & Neves, L.R. (2014) Parasitic infections in two Benthopelagic fish from Amazon: the Arowana Osteoglossum bicirrhosum (Osteoglossidae) and Oscar Astronotus ocellatus (Cichlidae). Bioscience Journal, 30, 546–555.
    Tavares-Dias, M. & Neves, L.R. (2017) Diversity of parasites in wild Astronotus ocellatus (Perciformes, Cichlidae), an ornamental and food fish in Brazil. Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, 89, 2305–2315.
    Thatcher, V.E. (2006) Amazon Fish Parasites. Pensoft Publishers, Sofia-Moscow, 508 pp.
    Trujillo-González, A., Becker, J.A. & Hutson, K.S. (2018) Parasite dispersal from the ornamental goldfish trade. Advances in Parasitology, 100, 239–281.
    Trujillo-González, A., Edmunds, R.C., Becker, J.A. & Hutson, K.S. (2019) Parasite detection in the ornamental fish trade using environmental DNA. Scientific Reports, 9, 1–9.
    Trujillo-González, A., Becker, J.A., Huerlimann, R., Saunders, R.J. & Hutson, K.S. (2020) Can environmental DNA be used for aquatic biosecurity in the aquarium fish trade? Biological Invasions, 22, 1011–1025.
    Tripathi, A., Agrawal, N. & Srivastava, N. (2010) Monogenoidea on Exotic Indian Freshwater Fishes. 1. A new geographical record of Sciadicleithrum iphthimum Kritsky, Thatcher & Boeger, 1989 (Dactylogyridae) with the first description of its egg. Comparative Parasitology, 77, 83–86.
    Tripathi, A. (2014) The invasive potential of parasitic monogenoids (platyhelminthes) via the aquarium fish trade: an appraisal with special reference to India. Reviews in Aquaculture, 6, 147–161.
    Tripathi, A., Rajvanshi, S. & Agrawal, N. (2014) Monogenoidea on exotic Indian freshwater fishes. 2. Range expansion of Thaparocleidus caecus and T. siamensis (Dactylogyridae) by introduction of striped catfish Pangasianodon hypophthalmus (Pangasiidae). Helminthologia, 51, 23–30.
    Tripathi, A. (2015) Monogenoidea on exotic Indian freshwater fish. 3. Are Indian guidelines for importation of exotic aquarium fish useful and can they be implemented; The case of Neotropical Gussevia spiralocirra Kohn and Paperna, 1964. Current Science, 108, 2101–2105. []
    Tripathi, A., Matey, C. & Agarwal, N. (2022) Monogenoidea on exotic Indian freshwater fish. 4. Dactylogyrus minutus from Platinum Ogon, an ornamental variety of the common carp Cyprinus carpio (Cypriniformes, Cyprinidae). BioInvasions Records, 11, 510–523.
    Torchin, M.E., Lafferty, K.D., Dobson, A.P., McKenzie, V.J. & Kuris, A.M. (2003) Introduced species and their missing parasites. Nature, 421, 628–630.
    Xie, Z., Ma, J., Yang, K., Duan, C., Guo, A. & Yue, C. (2019) Morphological description and molecular phylogeny of the Gussevia asota parasite on Astronotus ocellatus. Progress in Fishery Sciences, 40, 87–93.
    Whittington, R.J. & Chong, R. (2007) Global trade in ornamental fish from an Australian perspective: the case for revised import risk analysis and management strategies. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 81, 92–116.
    Wong, W.L., Tan, W.B. & Lim, L.H.S. (2006) Sodium dodecyl sulphate as a rapid clearing agent for studying the hard parts of monogeneans and nematodes. Journal of Helminthology, 80, 87–90.