Monthly variation in parasite populations and communities, from the blenniid fish Scartichthys viridis, were assessed during two consecutive years in order to examine monthly and seasonal temporal patterns. A total of 969 S. viridis was collected from September 2006 to August 2008 in central Chile. Sample size and fish total length (TL) varied among months. The S. viridis parasite community included 17 parasite taxa, of which five species were present throughout the year: a leech (Piscicolidae gen. sp.), two copepods (Lepeophtheirus zbigniewi and Colobomatus sp.), a monogenean (Microcotyle sp.) and a trematode (Lecithasteridae gen. sp.). The parasite prevalence, abundance and biovolume varied among months. More precisely, the leech and the copepod Colobomatus sp. were the most prevalent and abundant parasites, reaching their maxima between November and January (austral spring-summer). The parasite communities also showed seasonal patterns; prevalence, abundance and species richness of parasites were higher between October and January (spring-summer) than between March and May (autumn-winter). The population and community descriptors of parasites were significantly correlated with fish TL. Consequently, the variation in parasite populations and communities was associated with fish growth throughout the year. Postlarval settlement of S. viridis, in the intertidal rocky pools, occurs in autumn, with fish reaching larger body size in summer.
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Acknowledgements We thank Dr. Mauricio Landaeta for his critical revision on an earlier draft of this paper, Ms. Alejandra Rodríguez for her assistance in statistical analyses, and Mr Patricio Rivera for editing the figures. This study was funded by the grant FONDECYT 11060006 to GM. Financial support to HSR provided by a Marsden Fund grant (Royal Society of New Zealand).