Cysts of metacercariae were obtained on 2 dates from juvenile sole Solea solea sea-sampled in an area of mussel cultivation (Pertuis Charentais, Bay of Biscay, France). An initial assessment of parasite genus and infestation level was based on 192 cysts extracted from 2 fish samples, taken in August (n = 20) and December 2000 (n = 14). Our results confirmed the sole as second intermediate host of bucephalid trematodes of the genus Prosorhynchus, which has not previously been noticed in Atlantic stocks. Prevalence, ca. 65% on both dates, indicated an substantial infestation of these small fish, with a mean abundance of parasites increasing from August (3.3 +/- 1.1) to December (8.1 +/- 3.4). Cysts were localised in all body parts of the host, and positioning varied depending on sampling date. However, the cephalic area was always the most infested (72.7 and 49.1% in August and December, respectively). Parasite measurements suggested a protracted infestation process, which may be initiated in spring during sole settlement. Most of the largest metacercariae had the rhynchus characteristics of P. crucibulum, though the possibility of them being other species (P. squamatus, P. aculeatus) could not be excluded. As Mytilus edulis is the first intermediate host of Prosorhynchus spp., possible relationships between mussel culture and sole parasitosis are discussed.
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