Classical morphology and DNA barcoding based identification of freshwater ectoparasite Argulus foliaceus in rohu Labeo rohita

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Morphological and DNA barcoding based identification of fish ectoparasite


  • Snatashree Mohanty
  • Mausumee Mohanty
  • Kamal Sarma ICAR Research Complex for Eastern Region, Patna
  • Tarkeshwar Kumar
  • Amitav Dey
  • Paramananda Das
  • Sanjeeb Kumar Sahoo


Argulus foliaceus, morphology, DNA barcoding, COI gene, Labeo rohita


DNA barcoding coupled with classical morphological description have become promising approach for the species level
identification. In the present study, 278 numbers of rohu Labeo rohita were screened, for Argulus infestation, among
which 167 fish (60.07%) were found infested with Argulus. Morphological attributes of the parasites were studied by light
microscope (LM) and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) which showed dorsoventrally flattened body comprising of
head, thorax, abdomen, a pair of large compound eyes, suctorial organs with sclerotised support structures and two openings
of spermatheca at posterior end. Posterior incision of abdomen do not reach the mid-line and the cephalo-thoracic carapace
have not extended beyond the beginning of abdomen. Further validation was done using molecular tools for accurate
parasite identification. The pair-wise genetic distance value, using Kimura-2 parameter showed a species level variation
of 0.001 (1%) with that of A. foliaceus, while 0.083 and 0.052 (i.e. more than 2%) with that of A. indicus and A. japonicus
respectively. Phylogenetic tree generated using Neighbour-Joining (NJ) and Maximum-Likelihood (ML) methods, with
Kimura-2 parameter were also in agreement with pairwise distance values. The mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit
1 (COI) sequences of A. foliaceus formed one cluster with the present studied samples, whereas sequences of A. japonicus
formed a sister group. Integrating morphological and rapid DNA barcoding tools, the species was delineated as A. foliaceus.

Keywords: Argulus foliaceus, COI gene, DNA barcoding, Labeo rohita, Morphology


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How to Cite

Snatashree Mohanty, Mausumee Mohanty, Sarma, K., Tarkeshwar Kumar, Amitav Dey, Paramananda Das, & Sanjeeb Kumar Sahoo. (2023). Classical morphology and DNA barcoding based identification of freshwater ectoparasite Argulus foliaceus in rohu Labeo rohita: Morphological and DNA barcoding based identification of fish ectoparasite. Indian Journal of Fisheries, 70(1).