Ingestion of microplastics and occurrence of parasite association in Mediterranean anchovy and sardine

Date of publication 17 August 2020

Authors Pennino, Maria Grazia; Bachiller, Eneko; Lloret-Lloret, Elena; Albo-Puigserver, Marta; Esteban, Antonio; Jadaud, Angelique; Maria Bellido, Jose; Coll, Marta.

Sources Marine pollution bulletin : 158



We quantified the incidence of microplastics in the gut contents of the European sardine (Sardina pilchardus) and anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea and tested which variables influence this abundance, including the prevalence of parasites (i.e., trematoda larvae and nematodes). We detected a 58% occurrence of microplastics ingestion in sardines and a 60% in anchovies. With respect to sardines, the individuals with lower body conditions were found to have the highest microplastics ingestion probabilities, whereas in anchovies such probabilities were observed in individuals with higher gonadosomatic indices and smaller size. The areas with the highest microplastics ingestion probabilities were the Gulf of Alicante for sardines and the Gulf of Lion – Ebro Delta for anchovies. Both species showed a positive relationship between parasites and microplastics ingestion. These results highlight that both parasitism and ingestion of microplastics are concerns for the health of marine stocks and human consumers.

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