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1 October 2011 Spatio–Temporal Dynamics of Gastrointestinal Helminths Infecting Four Lake Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) Stocks in Northern Lakes Michigan and Huron, U.S.A.
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This study was undertaken to identify the community composition, structure, and dynamics of helminths infecting the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) collected from 4 sites in northern lakes Huron (Cheboygan and De Tour Village) and Michigan (Big Bay de Noc and Naubinway) from fall 2003 through summer 2006. A total of 21,203 helminths was retrieved from the GITs of 1,284 lake whitefish. Approximately 42% (SE  =  1.4%) of the examined lake whitefish were infected with at least 1 helminth species in their GIT, with a mean intensity of 39.4 worms/fish (SE  =  0.3) and a mean abundance of 16.4 worms/fish (SE  =  0.1). Collected helminths appeared to be generalists and consisted of 2 phyla (Acanthocephala and Cestoda) and 5 species (Acanthocephalus dirus, Neoechinorhynchus tumidus, Echinorhynchus salmonis, Cyathocephalus truncatus, and Bothriocephalus sp.). Lake whitefish from Lake Huron on average had greater infection prevalences, abundances, and intensities than did fish from Lake Michigan. Infection parameters for each of the helminth species generally followed the same pattern observed for the combined data. Acanthocephalus dirus was the most prevalent and abundant helminth in lake whitefish GITs, although intensity of infection was the greatest for C. truncatus. Helminth infection parameters often peaked in the spring while diversity was greatest in the winter samples. There was substantial temporal variability in helminth infections with prevalences, abundances, and intensities often fluctuating widely on consecutive sampling occasions. Analysis of the GIT helminth community composition suggested that 3 (Big Bay de Noc, De Tour Village, and Cheboygan) of the 4 primary spawning sites, overall, had similar community compositions. The reason for the observed spatial and temporal variability in the lake whitefish GIT helminth infections remains to be elucidated. The findings of this study represent the most comprehensive parasitological study ever conducted on lake whitefish in the Great Lakes and will provide valuable information for future comparisons.

American Society of Parasitologists
Mohamed Faisal, Walied Fayed, Abdelaziz Nour, and Travis Brenden "Spatio–Temporal Dynamics of Gastrointestinal Helminths Infecting Four Lake Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) Stocks in Northern Lakes Michigan and Huron, U.S.A.," Journal of Parasitology 97(5), 760-774, (1 October 2011).
Received: 29 December 2010; Accepted: 1 May 2011; Published: 1 October 2011

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