Though South Africa is rich in aquatic species, little is known about the diversity and distribution of copepods that parasitize different hosts ranging from invertebrates to marine mammals. A total of 43 mobulids (34 Mobula kuhlii; two Mobula eregoodootenkee and seven Manta alfredi) were examined for infection by symbiotic copepods at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board (KZNSB). Collected copepod specimens were fixed and preserved in 70% ethanol and studied with the stereo- and light microscopes. Most of the examined hosts (38) were infected with symbiotic siphonostomatoids. Ten different species representing five families were identified. Of these, seven represent new host records while four are new geographical records. The highest prevalences (>60%) were calculated for Eudactylina oliveri and Pupulina cliffi on M. eregoodootenkee and M. kuhlii while E. oliveri also exhibited the highest mean intensity values on these hosts.
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Vol. 48 • No. 2