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Impact of a castrating trematode, Neophasis sp., on the common whelk, Buccinum undatum, in the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence
Tétreault, F.; Himmelman, J.H.; Measures, L. (2000). Impact of a castrating trematode, Neophasis sp., on the common whelk, Buccinum undatum, in the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Biol. Bull. 198: 261-271
In: Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory: Lancaster, Pa. etc.. ISSN 0006-3185, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Tétreault, F.
  • Himmelman, J.H.
  • Measures, L.

Abstract
    We observed heavy trematode infections of whelks, Buccinum undatum, from the Mingan Islands, eastern Canada, by larval stages of a species of Neophasis. Only sexually mature whelks were infected, 23% of mature fe-males and 15% of mature males, and prevalence increased rapidly with whelk size. In most cases the parasite completely occupied the gonad, causing castration. The digestive gland was also infected, although to a lesser degree (0% to 50% occupation), and a marked reduction in the mass of the penis was associated with the infection. A decrease in the proportion of whelks with a highly infected digestive gland between May and August 1994 suggested mortality of infected individuals. Whelks held for 12 to 15 months in the laboratory retained the infection but did not show significant mortalities (possibly because food was abundant and predators absent). The larval stage of Neophasis sp. found in whelks was a cercaria; however, the tail easily detached. The putative infective stage (metacercaria) was not observed but may be present in whelks in late winter and early spring. Other trematode parasites observed were adult Steringophorus furciger in the stomach and larval Renicola sp. in the digestive gland.

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