Anisakidae nematodes in capelin Mallotus villosus (Müller, 1776) (Actinopterygii: Osmeridae) caught for food purposes


  • Leszek Rolbiecki Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Parasitology, Faculty of Biology, University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland
  • Joanna N. Izdebska Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Parasitology, Faculty of Biology, University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland


Capelin Mallotus villosus, a representative of the Osmeridae, is a common species found in the North Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Ocean. Being one of the main components of the diet of various fish species, it plays an important role in the circulation of different parasite species, including the nematodes of the Anisakidae. Capelin is also extensively caught and used for human food, and has become increasingly available to consumers in Poland. Thirty six capelin specimens, smoked fish bought at a store in Gdynia, were examined for the presence of Anisakidae. Ten specimens of nematode (Anisakis simplex, Contracaecum sp.) were found in eight fish. The overall prevalence for the fish was 22.2%, with a mean intensity of 1.3 (range 1–3). Despite its widespread acquisition and use, capelin has been the subject of few parasitological analyses. Our findings indicate that it is a typical host of Anisakidae nematodes, a species of great zoonotic importance. While dead nematode specimens found in smoked fish do not pose a direct threat to humans as parasites per se, they can cause food allergies. It seems, therefore, that fish intended for consumption should be the subject of constant parasitological monitoring, linked to food quality control.


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How to Cite

Rolbiecki, L., & Izdebska, J. N. (2023). Anisakidae nematodes in capelin Mallotus villosus (Müller, 1776) (Actinopterygii: Osmeridae) caught for food purposes. Annals of Parasitology, 69(1), 43–47. Retrieved from



Short notes