A Preliminary Assessment of Skin Microbiome Diversity of Zebrafish (Danio rerio): South African Pet Shop Fish

Willem G. Coetzer, L. M. Coetzee, E. D. Cason, J. P. Grobler, S. R. Schneider, C. E. Boucher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a well-known model organism used in an array of scientific research fields. Many microbiome studies conducted on fishes have focused on gut microbiome diversity. To our knowledge, no investigations into the skin microbiome diversity of pet shop zebrafish have been performed. In this pilot study we aimed to assess the microbiome diversity composition of different groups of zebrafish housed at the Department of Genetics, University of the Free State, South Africa. These fish originated from pet shops located in Bloemfontein, South Africa. We investigated the skin microbiome diversity between wild-type zebrafish and the well-known leopard colour morph. The microbiome compositions between zebrafish sexes were also assessed. No significant differences were observed between colour morphs. A core microbiome was identified for the zebrafish housed at our laboratories. Cetobacterium was significantly more abundant in females compared to males, with Limnobacter more abundant in males. Both these genera are known components of fish microbiomes, including zebrafish. The precise reason for this link should be further investigated.This research adds to the growing knowledge base linked to aquatic microbiome structure in different habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-84
Number of pages4
JournalIndian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number1
Early online date22 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


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