The life cycle of the freshwater horsehair worm typically includes a free-living phase (adult, egg, larva) and a multiple-host parasitic phase (aquatic paratenic host, terrestrial definitive host). Such a life cycle involving water and land can improve energy flow in riparian ecosystems; however, its temporal dynamics in nature have rarely been investigated. This study examined seasonal infection with cysts in larval Chironominae (Diptera: Chironomidae) in northern Taiwan. In the larval chironomids, cysts of 3 horsehair worm species were identified. The cysts of the dominant species were morphologically similar to those of Chordodes formosanus. Infection with these cysts increased suddenly and peaked 2 mo after the reproductive season of the adult horsehair worms. Although adult C. formosanus emerged several times in a year, only 1 distinct infection peak was detected in September in the chironomid larvae. Compared with the subfamily Chironominae, samples from the subfamilies Tanypodinae and Orthocladiinae were less parasitized. This indicates that the feeding behavior of the chironomid host likely affects horsehair worm cyst infections; however, bioconcentration in predatory chironomids was not detected.

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