First report of an epibiotic relationship between ciliates and planktonic copepods in a Brazilian floodplain
The peritrich ciliates are a widely distributed group of protozoa and include stalked and sedentary organisms, which may be solitary or colonial. These organisms are often observed as part of a relationship entitled epibiosis. This relationship is a facultative association between two organisms: the epibiont, which colonizes the surface of living substrates, and the basibiont, which hosts the epibionts. During a survey on the epibiotic relationship between ciliates e copepods in upper Paraná River floodplain-PR/MS Brazil, samples were taken in different types of environments (three rivers, three canals, 16 connected and 14 unconnected lakes), in a total of 36 sampling sites. Among these environments, 22 showed copepods infested by epibiont ciliates. The copepods Thermocyclops decipiens, Thermocyclops minutus and Notodiaptomus amazonicuswhere colonized by epibiont ciliates from the genus Epistylis.In this study, we reported for the first time, epibiosis in a Brazilian floodplain.