The South African marine environment is highly diverse, containing >12 000 species of flora and fauna. However, the state of knowledge of marine fish parasites in South African waters is still relatively poor. This study used opportunistic sampling to examine the heads and gills of several commercially valuable marine fish species for ectoparasites with the aim of increasing knowledge of marine parasite biodiversity in South Africa. Samples were collected in 2015 and 2016 from commercial fishing operations, local fishers and research cruises by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and were stored frozen until dissection. The head region, gills and opercula from altogether 621 individual fish from 16 host species were examined. In total, 22 parasite taxa, comprising seven monogeneans and 15 copepods, were recorded, with one new host record and 13 new geographic records catalogued for South Africa. This study increases the knowledge of marine parasite biodiversity in South Africa.
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Vol. 56 • No. 4