This study addressed the problem of local patterns of host specificity among Ancyrocephalinae (Monogenoidea) on bass and sunfish species, when the hosts occur in different species combinations in separate ponds. One hundred fifty-three fish of the Centrarchidae, from 4 study sites in Nebraska, were collected. Host species included bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), green sunfish (L. cyanellus), largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus), white crappie (P. annularis), and rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris). These fish occurred in different species combinations, depending on the pond sampled. Results indicated that several centrarchid species could inhabit the same pond and yet support distinct monogene communities. Clavunculus bursatus, Onchocleidus helicis, O. principalis, and Syncleithrum fusiformis were found only on largemouth bass, regardless of what other centrarchids were present in a particular pond. Haplocleidus dispar occurred on green sunfish, bluegill, largemouth bass, and black crappie, and H. furcatus occurred on both bluegill and largemouth bass. Onchocleidus cyanellus and O. ferox were found on both bluegill and green sunfish. Rock bass were present in only 1 of the 4 ponds, but were not infected with any monogenes, even though co-occurring centrarchids were often heavily infected. Largemouth bass had the most diverse ancyrocephaline communities. The degree of parasite host specificity among these monogenes was inversely related to the diversity of host species present in a particular pond. In general, the parasites were more host specific than might be inferred from the literature; parasite species did not necessarily colonize supposedly receptive host species even when the latter were present, and host relatedness was the major factor in determining whether host species shared a common parasite species.

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