Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

Amphibdellid (monogenean) parasites of electric rays (Torpedinidae)

J. Llewellyna1

a1 Department of Zoology and Comparative Physiology, University of Birmingham

Electric rays (Torpedinidae) are known to harbour on their gills certain monogenean parasites (Amphibdella spp. and Amphibdelloides spp.) whose taxonomy is in a very confused state. Muchof this confusion has centred around a single morphological feature: a ‘transverse bar’ has been variously held to be present or absent from the adhesive apparatus, or sometimes two such bars have been stated to be present. Among those who have regarded the trans-verse bar as having taxonomic importance, Price (1937) recognized two genera of amphibdellids distinguishable by the presence or absence of the bar, but Palombi (1949) and Bychowsky (1957) believe that the bar may be present in young specimens but absent or inconspicuous in older specimens. No-one has investigated the function of thistransverse bar, or, indeed, any functional aspect of the adhesive apparatus. Again little attention has been paid in taxonomy to the genitalia or host specificity, or, in spite of a record of an amphibdellid from the heart of its host, to micro-habitat.