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1 April 2007 ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN SHOREBIRD ABUNDANCE AND PARASITES IN THE SAND CRAB, EMERITA ANALOGA, ALONG THE CALIFORNIA COAST
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Abstract

I investigated spatial variation in the prevalence and abundance of 4 species of parasites in the sand crab, Emerita analoga, on 8 sandy beaches along 800 km of the California coast, to assess the importance of bird abundance for the distribution of parasites among sand crab populations. I collected sand crabs and counted shorebirds and gulls at each beach during June and November 1994. Sand crabs served as intermediate hosts for 4 species of parasites, including a trematode, Spelotrema nicolli (Cable and Hunnienen, 1938); an acanthocephalan, Polymorphus kenti (Van Cleave, 1947); a nematode, Proleptus sp., and an unidentified trypanorhynch tapeworm. Among sand crab populations, there was substantial spatial variation in the prevalence and abundance of each parasite species. No latitudinal pattern was apparent for any of the 4 species observed. Temporally, parasite prevalence and abundance was significantly different between dates for all 4 parasites. Specifically, sand crab populations experienced higher trematode, nematode, and trypanorhynch prevalence and abundance in November than in June. In contrast, prevalence and abundance of acanthocephalans were higher in June than in November. There were strong positive associations between bird abundance and prevalence of parasitic infection for trematodes and acanthocephalans for some dates but not for nematodes or trypanorhynchs, which use elasmobranchs as definitive hosts. The spatial variation in prevalence and abundance of trematodes and acanthocephalans observed among sand crab populations may be attributed to the distribution and abundance of shorebirds and gulls that serve as definitive hosts.

Nancy F. Smith "ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN SHOREBIRD ABUNDANCE AND PARASITES IN THE SAND CRAB, EMERITA ANALOGA, ALONG THE CALIFORNIA COAST," Journal of Parasitology 93(2), (1 April 2007). https://doi.org/10.1645/GE-1002R.1
Received: 17 July 2006; Accepted: 1 October 2006; Published: 1 April 2007
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