The infection pattern of Kroeyerina elongata (Kroyeriidae, Copepoda) in the olfactory sacs of the blue shark, Prionace glauca, was investigated using 4,722 copepods from 54 olfactory sacs. Copepod prevalence and mean intensity of infection per olfactory sac were 94.0 and 91.1%, respectively, and the most intensely infected olfactory sac and shark hosted 218 and 409 copepods, respectively. There were significant linear relationships between the number of female and total copepods per left olfactory sac and shark fork length as well as between the numbers of female, male, and total copepods per shark and mean olfactory sac width and cumulative olfactory sac width. Female copepods typically outnumbered males within olfactory sacs (mean intensity = 65.7 and 26.3, respectively), and no statistical differences were detected between the numbers of copepods inhabiting the left and right olfactory sacs. Copepods were not evenly distributed within olfactory sacs. Typically, female copepods occupied olfactory chambers located centrally along the length of the olfactory sac, while males infected lateral olfactory chambers nearest the naris. The orientation of most copepods (84.6%) suggested positive rheotaxis relative to the path of water through the olfactory sac. Within olfactory chambers, most mature females (68.2%) infected the first third of the peripheral excurrent channel and the adjacent fringe of olfactory lamellae, while most males (91.7%) infected the olfactory lamellae, and the 4 larval females collected were attached within the lamellar field and grasped by males. Based on the observed infection patterns and the pattern of water flow throughout the olfactory sac, a hypothesis regarding the life cycle of K. elongata is advanced wherein infective copepodids are swept into the olfactory sac from the surrounding sea and initially colonize the olfactory lamellae. Copepodids feed and mature among the olfactory lamellae, and adult males search for mates and copulate with young females among the olfactory lamellae. Inseminated females move to the peripheral excurrent channels to mature and produce ovisacs. Hatching ovisacs release free-swimming nauplii into the excurrent water flow to be swept into the milieu, where they can molt into infective copepodids that may infect new hosts.
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Vol. 96 • No. 5