Abstract

The host-parasite associations between ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) and hairworms (Nematomorpha: Gordiida) collected from the Arctic (an understudied and ecologically important region) is described. Carabids and their parasites were collected from 12 sites spanning the 3 northernmost ecoclimatic zones of Canada (north boreal, subarctic, and high Arctic) using standardized methods. The beetles and hairworms were identified using traditional morphological approaches. Seven beetle species are recorded as hosts: Amara alpina, Pterostichus caribou, Pterostichus brevicornis, Pterostichus tareumiut, Pterostichus haematopus, Patrobus septentrionis, and Notiophilus borealis. All represent new host records (increasing the known North American host list from 14 to 21), and this is the first record of hairworm infection in the genus Notiophilus. Beetles from Banks Island, Northwest Territory, were infected in high numbers (11–19% per sampling period) and were used as an ecological case study. There was no significant relationship between infection status and host species, body size, or sex. Beetles collected in yellow pan traps and in wet habitats were more likely to be infected, likely due to water-seeking behavior induced by the parasites. Morphological examinations indicate that the hairworms collected from all locations represent a single, new species of Gordionus, making it only the sixth hairworm species and the third species of that genus found in Canada. Hosts are unknown for all other Canadian (and 1 Alaskan) Gordionus species.

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