Annual, seasonal, and interlake variation in prevalence and intensity of Ornithodiplostomum ptychocheilus (Faust) metacercariae was assessed in populations of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) collected from 4 lakes in north-central Alberta. Mean metacercariae intensity in young-of-the-year minnows varied extensively (5–123 metacercariae/host) among year, month, and lakes. In 2 of the lakes, prevalence always reached 100%, and mean intensity always peaked in September or October. The high spatial and annual variation in metacercarial recruitment was partly attributable to variation in host size, but variation in water depth, temperature, snail densities, and bird visitation likely also played a role. A laboratory experiment demonstrated that host and metacercariae survival was intensity-independent during a period of simulated winter. Thus, metacercariae recruited in the fall survive until the following spring.

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