The component community of larval trematodes infecting the mudsnail Hydrobia ventrosa (Montagu) was examined in coastal lagoons of the southern Baltic Sea among different host subpopulations in relation to the structure of the waterfowl community. The 10 trematode species observed represent the families Notocotylidae (1), Echinostomatidae (1 or 2), Heterophyidae (2), Monorchidae (1), Microphallidae (3 or 4), Psilostomatidae (1), and Hemiuridae (1). Eight of these species infect waterfowl as adults. The structure of the trematode communities was similar between sampling sites. Seven trematode taxa were commonly found at all sampling sites. Prevalence values of the 6 most abundant taxa, which infect birds as final hosts, were significantly different between neither sampling sites nor across year. Overall trematode prevalence in H. ventrosa fluctuated seasonally. Prevalence usually peaked in summer between July and September or October. Low prevalences were observed in late winter and early spring. In contrast, the seasonal maximum in waterfowl numbers differed between areas because of significant spatial differences in the bird community structure. The species composition of the component trematode community of H. ventrosa in the coastal lagoons of the southern Baltic Sea is more or less independent of the species composition of the waterfowl community. This independence presumably results from the lack of host specificity in most of the observed trematode species. Otherwise, the low host specificity in combination with the enormous waterfowl diversity in the coastal lagoons might explain the stability of the prevalence pattern of the component trematode community.
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