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Small estuarine fishes feed on large trematode cercariae: Lab and field investigations

Journal of Parasitology

By:
, , , and
DOI: 10.1645/GE-1737.1

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Abstract

In aquatic ecosystems, dense populations of snails can shed millions of digenean trematode cercariae every day. These short-lived, free-living larvae are rich in energy and present a potential resource for consumers. We investigated whether estuarine fishes eat cercariae shed by trematodes of the estuarine snail Cerithidea californica. In aquaria we presented cercariae from 10 native trematode species to 6 species of native estuarine fishes. Many of these fishes readily engorged on cercariae. To determine if fishes ate cercariae in the field, we collected the most common fish species, Fundulus parvipinnis (California killifish), from shallow water on rising tides when snails shed cercariae. Of 61 killifish, 3 had recognizable cercariae in their gut. Because cercariae are common in this estuary, they could be frequent sources of energy for small fishes. In turn, predation on cercariae by fishes (and other predators) could also reduce the transmission success of trematodes. ?? 2009 American Society of Parasitologists.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Small estuarine fishes feed on large trematode cercariae: Lab and field investigations
Series title:
Journal of Parasitology
DOI:
10.1645/GE-1737.1
Volume
95
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Parasitology
First page:
477
Last page:
480