The grass shrimp, Palaemonetes pugio, harbors a number of symbionts within its North American range. Here, we document the distribution and seasonality of 4 taxonomic groups that use P. pugio as a host in coastal Alabama. We conducted a regional survey of 4 symbionts of P. pugio over 3 seasons and compared assemblages across space and time. The most common parasite was the metacercarial stage of the microphallid trematode Microphallus turgidus, which remained consistently prevalent over the 3 seasons surveyed. We also monitored the prevalence of M. turgidus at 2 sites monthly. Prevalence fluctuated significantly among seasons at these sites, but spatial heterogeneity appears to have a stronger influence on regional parasite prevalence. Distributions of 3 of 4 symbionts overlapped in a single geographic area (Mon Louis Island, Alabama, U.S.A.); however, multispecies infections of individual hosts were normally distributed within host populations. Sites surrounding Mon Louis Island had substantially higher parasite prevalence, particularly in the summer months. This area had a high quantity of Spartina marsh habitat, which we found influenced parasite prevalence, suggesting a role for wetland habitat in structuring parasite communities for this host.
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