We examined parasites of 152 lake herring (Coregonus artedi) collected from three locations in Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior in 1994, four locations in Wisconsin waters in 1996, and one location in Minnesota waters in 1996 to determine: 1) the species composition and relative abundances of parasites in lake herring, 2) the differences in parasite relative abundances across locations sampled, and 3) the utility of parasite relative abundances as markers of stock structure. Parasites from 19 taxa infected lake herring collected in 1994 and 1996; Henneguya zschokkei, Chloromyxum sp., and Cyathocephalus truncatus were reported in fishes from Lake Superior for the first time, and Clinostomum marginatum was reported in lake herring for the first time. Significant differences in abundances of eight parasite taxa were found across locations sampled in 1996, with most of the differences occurring between fish from Minnesota and Wisconsin waters. Nonparametric discriminant function analyses correctly classified 105 of the 108 fish (97%) from Wisconsin waters in 1994 and 1996 and also correctly classified 9 of the 13 fish (69%) from the one location in Minnesota waters. This indicated that little mixing of lake herring from those regions occurred and that the potential exists to use parasite abundances as a marker of lake herring stock structure. This was the first time that multivariate analysis of parasites have been used in the Great Lakes to access stock structure of fishes. Because the technique was highly successful at classifying locations of our samples, we recommend that parasite abundances in lake herring from all areas of the lake be analyzed as part of a larger study to determine whether lake herring from populations throughout the lake can be as accurately classified as were fish in our study.
Additional publication details
Parasites of lake herring (Coregonus artedi) from Lake Superior, with special reference to use of parasites as markers of stock structure