Seasonal prevalence and abundance of the helminths of bluegill sunfish in a Louisiana oligohaline bayou were measured by a survey and a field “live-box” experiment. The survey took place from the spring of 1997 to the summer of 1998 and examined fish that were <7 cm. Three trematode species, Phagicola nana (Heterophyidae), Ascocotyle tenuicollis (Heterophyidae), and Posthodiplostomum minimum (Diplostomatidae), and 2 nematode species, Camallanus oxycephalus (Camallanidae) and Spinitectus carolini (Cystidicolidae), were examined. Camallanus oxycephalus was the only helminth that showed a distinct seasonal pattern. Abundance and prevalence peaked in summer, which was likely driven by concerted reproductive cycles of females. The survey data indicated that the other helminths fluctuated over time but did not seem to follow a distinct seasonal pattern. The fluctuations could be attributed to the variable nature of the habitat or to the stochastic events that influence transmission dynamics, particularly isolated events such as tropical storms, which cause dramatic changes in salinity. The live-box experiment successfully measured recruitment of A. tenuicollis and suggested a seasonal component of the distribution of this species, which was possibly caused by temperature-dependent emergence of cercariae from the snail intermediate host.

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