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Metazoan parasites and commensals were collected from dead manatees salvaged in Puerto Rico. Thirty-five manatees were examined between 1980 and 1998. Parasites and commensals were identified in 20 (57%) manatees and included 3 species of helminths, 1 nematode (Heterocheilus tunicatus) and 2 digeneans (Chiorchis fabaceus and Cochleotrema cochleotrema). Two species of commensals were also associated with manatees: a barnacle (Chelonibia manati) and a fish (whitefin remora, Echeneis neucratoides). The 3 species of helminths found in manatees constitute the first records of these parasite-host relationships for the study area. The record of C. manati is the first for the Caribbean, and thus the species is not endemic to the Gulf of Mexico as previously described. The speculation that West Indian manatees closer to the center of their geographic distribution would have a greater diversity of parasites was found not true for these insular specimens but perhaps could be true for continental South American specimens.
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Parasites and commensals of the West Indian manatee from Puerto Rico
Journal of the Helminthological Society of Washington