Sea lampreys from the Lake Huron basin carried no external parasites and showed a fairly low degree of infection by internal parasites. The material examined represented three life-history stages of the sea lamprey. Recently transformed downstream migrants (215 specimens) harbored only nematodes belonging to the genus Camallanus. The percentage of infection was 2.3. Active feeders from the lake (29 lampreys) revealed the highest degree of parasitism (31.0 percent) with the following parasites present: Echinorhynchus coregoni Linkins; Triaenophorus crasses Forel; and Camallanus sp. Among the 257 sexually mature upstream migrants (14.8 percent infected) Echinorhynchus coregoni and E. leidyi Van Cleave were the most common. Only occasional nematodes and cestodes were found, which fact indicates a failure of the lamprey to carry these parasites to the end of its natural life. Of the parasites observed, only the nematodes gave evidence of serious damage to the host. The study suggests that the role played by parasites in the natural control of the sea lamprey in its new habitat in the upper Great Lakes is of minor importance.
Additional publication details
Diseases and parasites of the sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, in the Lake Huron basin