Infestation of zooplankton with Triaenophorus and Proteocephalus procercoids (Cestoda) in a deep oligotrophic lake
In spring 2004, a massive infestation of the whitefish population in the Austrian Lake Achensee with Triaenophorus crassus was observed. Procercoids, the larval stage of parasitic cestodes, infest copepods as their first intermediate host. Therefore, in spring 2011, zooplankton samples were taken weekly at two sampling sites and depth ranges to determine the abundances of crustaceans as well as percentages of infected copepods and temporal occurrence of parasites. In addition, whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) stomach contents were analysed for food spectrum and parasite infestation. From the end of June to mid-August, procercoids of Triaenophorus spp. were detected in Cyclops abyssorum, the only first intermediate host for this parasite in Lake Achensee. Highest percentages of infected copepods were reached in mid-July (prevalence: 0.38%). Furthermore, an infestation of Proteocephalus sp. was observed in this copepod species, which occurred earlier until the end of the sampling period (prevalence: 1.34%). Besides C. abyssorum, also Eudiaptomus gracilis was occasionally infected with Proteocephalus (prevalence: 0.05%). The procercoids were found in both depth ranges, with no clear vertical infestation preference. More female C. abyssorum were Triaenophorus-infected than males, while the opposite was observed for Proteocephalus infection. The whitefish stomachs contained large numbers of Proteocephalus and Triaenophorus procercoids, coinciding with the occurrence of these parasites in the copepods.
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Copyright (c) 2014 Peter Anegg, Roland Psenner, Barbara Tartarotti
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