The patterns of infection of American eels Anguilla rostrata, with the introduced swimbladder nematode Anguillicola crassus, in tributaries of middle and upper Chesapeake Bay are described. A total of 423 subadult eels was collected from 8 Bay tributaries from spring 1998 to fall 1999. Also, 30 elvers were collected from Ocean City, Maryland, in spring 1998. The numbers of juvenile and adult specimens of A. crassus in the swimbladder wall and lumen were counted. No elvers were infected. In subadult eels, prevalence of adult and juvenile stages combined ranged from 13% to 82%; mean intensity ranged from 2.6 to 9.0 worms per eel. Infection levels were highest for Susquehanna River eels (northernmost river) and lowest in the southernmost sites: St. Jerome's Creek and the Pocomoke River. Although eels from these 2 localities were larger, the low infection rates there are most likely due to reduced transmission in higher salinity water and not to eel size. Eels with both adult and juvenile stages of A. crassus were more common than expected by chance. This might be explained by inhibition of juveniles migrating into the swimbladder lumen when adults are already present there.
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