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J Parasitol. 2000 Apr;86(2):319-27.

Natural transfer of helminths of marine origin to freshwater fishes with observations on the development of Diphyllobothrium alascense.

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1
Department of Comparative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-7190, USA.

Abstract

Infective stages of helminths of 5 species that occur as adults in marine mammals were found in burbot, Lota lota (L.) (Gadidae), from the lower Kuskokwim River (southwestern Alaska): Diphyllobothrium alascense Rausch et Williamson, 1958; Pyramicocephalus phocarum (Fabricius, 1780); Corynosoma strumosum (Rudolphi, 1801); Corynosoma semerme (Forsell, 1904); and Pseudoterranova decipiens (Krabbe, 1878). Some larval stages were obtained also from smelt, Osmerus mordax dentex Steindachner, an anadromous fish important as prey of burbot. Burbot, which are freshwater fish, could become paratenic hosts of those helminths by means of at least 3 interactions: by consuming marine fishes in brackish waters at river mouths, by feeding on marine fishes that enter lower reaches of rivers, or by preying on anadromous fishes as they migrate up rivers. Consumption of burbot by people may result in infection by helminths of marine origin; of those recorded, only P. decipiens may be significantly pathogenic. Attempts to rear P. phocarum in dogs were unsuccessful. Plerocercoids of D. alascense, of very small size and found only in the gastric lumen of burbot, readily infected dogs. For study of their development, strobilae were obtained at intervals of 48 hr to 32 days postinfection. In heavy infections, some strobilae developed slowly, while others underwent rapid development.

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