Presence of CTXs in moray eels and dusky groupers in the marine environment of the Canary Islands.Aquat Toxicol. 2020 Apr; 221:105427.AT
Local population frequently consumes moray eels and dusky groupers from the Canary Islands. These species are top predators and the interactions between them include predation but also, in some cases, collaborative hunting. These fish are well known to cause ciguatera (CFP) outbreaks in several marine areas such as Japan, Hawaii, French Polynesia and Caribe. Groupers have been involved in CFP events in the Canary Islands, however, moray eels have not yet been well studied in this regard. The present research seeks to describe the finding of a black moray in the stomach of a positive dusky grouper during its necropsy, and to clarify the implication of groupers and moray eels in the food webs, accumulating CTXs in the Canarian environment. The study also updates statistics on the presence of toxic groupers in this archipelago. For these purposes, 248 grouper samples from the CFP official control in the Canary Islands (2018-2019) were analysed and 36 moray eels (5 species) were collected under the EuroCigua project and one was obtained during a dusky grouper necropsy. All samples were analysed with the Neuro-2a cell-based assay (CBA) to evidence CTX-like toxicity. Regarding the necropsied grouper and the moray eel found in its stomach content, the LCMS/MS method allowed the identification and quantification of CCTX1 in both fish at similar levels while none of the P-CTXs for which standards were available were detected. Among groupers, 25.4 % displayed CTX-like toxicity with differences between islands. For moray eels 38.9 % showed toxicity, involving 4 species. Black moray exhibited a high proportion of positives (9/12) and a positive correlation was found between CTX-like toxicity quantification and the black moray weight. Regarding the grouper, and the moray eel found in its stomach, the LCMS/MS method allowed the identification and quantification of C-CTX1 in both fish at similar levels. This found suggests a trophic interaction between these species and their role in maintaining CTXs in the Canary waters where local population commonly demand those species for consumption. The island of El Hierro stands out above all the other Canary Islands with the concerning percentage of positive grouper samples and the high CTX toxicity levels obtained in moray eel specimens analysed in this marine area. This is the first report of CTX-like toxicity in flesh of moray eels fished in the Canary archipelago and the confirmation of the presence of C-CTX1 by LCMS/MS in a black moray from this marine area.